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Archive for the ‘7 – Journey to the Cross-roads’ Category

Mrow?

Oh noes!

Oh noes!

With such fanfare, this very short chapter ends. Frodo, Sam, and Gollum have sneaked into the grove of tress that marks the crossroads. The sun sets over Gondor to the west, and a darkness hangs in the east. In the center of the grove sits a kingly statue. Its head has been torn off, replaced with a grinning red-eyed mockery. However, Frodo sees the old head sitting by the roadside, crowned in the light with a ring of white flowers. With the setting of the sun, blackness envelops all.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 56 – “Nothing wrong here.”

People will always argue about the changes that the movies have made. (Oh, that stop in Osgiliath with Faramir? Nope.) However, some moments are just so perfectly captured. This isn’t a major moment in the book, by any stretch of the imagination. This chapter was short and relatively inconsequential, but the mood of this ending, where Frodo sees the crown on the stone king’s brow, is hit right on the head in the film. I’ve seen book purists ask if Peter Jackson has even read the book. As you can see today, yes, yes he has.

Cats have always taken issue with page 702.

Cats have always taken issue with page 702.

Let’s move along to the next chapter, shall we? This one was pretty boring, anyway.

No one dies today.

“The Sun dipped and vanished, and as if at the shuttering of a lamp, black night fell.”

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What?! A post before midnight? FAR before midnight? This is weird.

The light! It burns meeeeee...

The light! It burns meeeeee…

Speaking of light, or lack thereof, Gollum ushers Frodo and Sam to move along as quickly as they can. Sam is suspicious, naturally, as Gollum won’t give any details, but they pack up and head south through the eerie lands. After about an hour, they can see a dark grove of immensely tall trees ahead. This, according to Gollum, is the site of the crossroads. They can even see the southern road winding its way towards that grove. Nearly running, they take to the edge of the road.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 51 – “Trusting you is simply a necessity, nothing more.”

I’m starting to realize that this land is just like the northern wastes at the feet of the mountains of Mordor. It isn’t as deadly, but there is the similar lack of any signs of life. I think the main difference is just that this land is more recently under the power of evil, while the northern desert-like area has been evil for a very long time. Given enough time, I wouldn’t be surprised if this land turned as poisonous as that one. Heck, with Sauron wanting to take over all lands, everything would end up like that if given that huge dose of evil. It’s like Kool-aid, except instead of water, you add evil. In liquid form? I guess it would have to be that way.

Some denizen of the internet has put a lot of work into this idea.

Some denizen of the internet has put a lot of work into this idea.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-campment

Also, I forgot to mention yesterday that I’ve hit 700 pages! Woah! I’m starting to see where I’m going to end up, and we’re looking at an endpoint of sometime next March or so. It’s been less than a year for a little while now, but it’s finally starting to feel close. Even though…it’s really not.

No one dies today.

“As furtively as scouts within the campment of their enemies, they crept down on to the road, and stole along its westward edge under the stony bank, grey as the stones themselves, and soft-footed as…”

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It does seem like my blog is slowly catching up to my mostly nocturnal schedule. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but it still makes me slightly uncomfortable. Oh well, I still haven’t missed a “conscious period” (my term for “day” when most of it is at night).

And that sounds a little strange.

And that sounds a little strange.

Today, Frodo and Sam talk about how their “conscious periods” are all messed up. This darkness is weird! As Sam wakes up, he hears a distant rumbling. Frodo doesn’t know what it is. However, with Gollum missing in action, the only thing for them to do is to let Frodo sleep while Sam takes watch. Good night, sweet ring-bearer!

Sam sits alone, listening to Frodo talk in his sleep, when Gollum reappears. He says that it’s time to get up and go, which doesn’t go over well with Sam, as one would guess.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 46 – “So, you think you can just walk right back and order people around? That’s rude.”

Sam reiterates today to Frodo his dislike for Gollum. I haven’t kept track of how many times he’s thought about how much he loathes the slimy creature, but this might be the first time that he’s mentioned it out loud. Of course, he ends the discussion with a quote from his father, the Gaffer, supreme ruler of all hobbit advice. So…you can go figure whether or not Sam’s judgement is coming from the best place. We don’t know the Gaffer that well, and he’s clearly shaped just about everything that Sam thinks.

There's an academic essay here somewhere.

There’s an academic essay here somewhere.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-mostways

-sleepies

Ruralisms! And one from Gollum! (That being “sleepies”.) See, he is part hobbit, even in his creepiness. And a little more like Sam than either would admit. Perhaps they’re just two sides of the same coin…

Gollum the id, Frodo the ego, and Sam the superego? That makes more sense than I ever thought it would.

No one dies today.

“‘It can’t be tea-time even, leastways not in decent places where there is tea-time.'”

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Gosh, I’ve been really bad about doing these after midnight, which still feels like cheating. But I was at a wedding, okay? Weddings are cool.

Also, I don’t feel bad because I need something to fill an hour before the new episodes of Arrested Development come out. Because that’s going to happen.

Mhm.

Mhm.

In Middle-earth…

Day never comes! I called that! The day is brown and gross for Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. Ick. The hobbits have sat down to rest, and Gollum disappears, like he’s so good at doing. Sam sleeps first, and has a dream about trying desperately to clean the garden at Bag End, and hunting for something. Waking, he realizes that he wants his pipe, but then also comes to know that he doesn’t have any pipe-weed, and is too far from home to feel comfortable. Oops.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 54 – “No real change, but, hey, at least nothing bad happened!”

Did I, or did I not call that the day would stay dark? Oh, I did. Times is bad. Sauron is probably playing with the weather, and covering this land with darkness. The most light is coming from Mordor – a red glow – over the mountains. Welcoming! Let’s go there!

And that’s exactly where we’re going.

Let us not go to Mordor, 'tis a silly place.

Let us not go to Mordor, ’tis a silly place.

And, by golly, you have to wonder about all those times that Gollum sneaks off, you know? Most people doing that in a story wind up informing against the people that they’ve left to wait for them. Jorah Mormont in early Song of Ice and Fire books comes to mind. If I didn’t know that Gollum was so horrible at social interaction, you’d think that that’s what he might be doing. Being creepy is creepy.

No one dies today.

“‘But the day is getting darker instead of…'”

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Even Gollum needs his beauty sleep, although it never seems to do any good. He sleeps, while Frodo and Sam are unable to do so. This means that Gollum wakes fresh halfway through the night, while the hobbits have little energy to move on. But they do move on.

The land is climbing gradually, into a blackness from the east. Mordor looms ahead, and looking back, the forest can be seen from above. Once Gollum notices that day is near, he quickens his pace to find them a bramble thicket where they can hide from the daylight.

I had such a love/hate relationship with these levels in DKC2.

I had such a love/hate relationship with these levels in DKC2.

 

Today’s Gollum Meter: 52 – “A cheerful Gollum is a nicer Gollum.”

At this point, you could question whether the gathering darkness is just because of nighttime, or is something borne out of Mordor. A good time to tell the difference is daytime. If day stays dark, only slightly lighter than nighttime, then this darkness must be somewhat unnatural. There’s also that “gathering storm” feeling all over the land. So…it could just be clouds. A bad storm ahead, maybe, but Sauron’s power is so great that he must be working some evil on the sky.

And NO land filled with brambles is ever a nice place.

Lord this was born a bramblin' land.

Lord this was born a bramblin’ land.

But…I’m not here to debate the moral attributes of a region based on its plant life. That would make for a boring post.

No one dies today.

“Deep inside there was a hollow hall, raftered…”

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SNAKES!

SNAAAAAAAKES!

SNAAAAAAAKES!

After more walking, Frodo can see the crossroads ahead. Oh, will this be a short chapter?

A valley cuts out of Mordor down to Anduin, and a dark river flows through it. He can see the road alongside it. Gollum mumbles about being forced to take this path, instead of one that he would have preferred, but Frodo is unmoved. He and Sam want to find a place to rest, for at least part of the night, though Gollum is frightened of their pattern of daytime travel.

First Mentions:

-Morgulduin: The river flowing from Minas Morgul. The suffix “-duin” certainly has something to do with rivers, as you may have noticed.

Seriously, though, it seems like the chapter will be reaching its conclusion before too long, and we’re only on the fourth page! I railed earlier against chapters that set up their action in the title, and this is proving to be the problem once again. Once we reach the crossroads, what more can happen? It would be time to move on.

Maybe something dramatic and exciting will make this leg of the journey harder for our heroes! That would lengthen what is turning out to be a quick section. Invariably, something will happen, but I just forget what.

Snakes. Snakes are the answer to this problem.

So cuddly!

So cuddly!

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Morgulduin

How many more references to snakes can I fit into this post? They’ve been snaking in and around everything I’ve been talking about.

HAR. HAR. HAR.

No one dies today.

“Frodo and Sam drank a little water and ate some bread and dried fruit, but…”

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Indeed, they go.

I don't know, but I like it.

I don’t know, but I like it.

Frodo tells Gollum not to insult the men who chose not to kill him. Like that fixes anything. When Frodo and Sam sit down to eat the food Faramir packed for them, Gollum stays away from it. The day turns to night, and Frodo and Sam sleep, with Gollum off on his own. The next day is much the same, a walk in the silent woods. Gollum feels uneasy.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 31 – “Things are fishy with you right now, without the actual fish.”

Again, Gollum refuses to trust Frodo and take his word for the fact that the men didn’t cause them any harm. Inconvenience, sure, but that’s a lot better than death. Gollum just won’t see that. I don’t think he ever will. For him, an enemy remains an enemy. I don’t think he ever saw Frodo as an “enemy”, just as a person bearing the thing he wants most of all: the ring. However, with the recent developments, Gollum could be slowly turning against Frodo. This is a bad thing.

Most things are bad if they involve Gollum, anyway. Sometimes I wonder why we bother.

Oh…Gandalf seemed to think he had some further part to play. Sure. I’ll cast him as Tybalt. That can be his part.

No...wait. Tybalt is a pretty freakin' sweet part.

No…wait. Tybalt is a pretty freakin’ sweet part.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-trickses

-launds

I seriously think that “launds” is just “lands” with an extra letter. I mean, it is, ultimately, just that, but it really looks like an error. Like, a lot. Help me out here, friends. IS IT?!

The internet tells me that a “laund” is a plain or pasture of sorts. Gosh, you could just stick “land” there and it would still work. Weird.

No one dies today.

“There they sat under an old gnarled oak that sent its roots twisting like…”

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