Archive for the ‘8 – The Stairs of Cirith Ungol’ Category

End of chapter, end of alliance?

Even otters must stop holding hands at some point.

Even otters must stop holding hands at some point.

Frodo says that it might be time to set Gollum off on his own. After all, they can see the pass, where else is there for him to guide them? No, Gollum won’t have that. There is still the tunnel…yes, the tunnel. They’ll need his help for that.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 24 – “Oh, just go away. Please?”

Yes, everything could be made easier if Gollum were to just walk away. Frodo’s willing to let that happen, so long as he doesn’t run into the arms of the orcs. Of course, Gollum also can’t wander into Gondor, as per the orders of Faramir, so…where can he go? Exiting this valley would take him back into Ithilien, which Gondor calls their own. So…oops. Nowhere to go, anyway.

That’s all. It’s only two short paragraphs on the page, as it is.

No one dies today.

“‘Sméagol must go on. No rest. No food. Not yet.'”


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The phrase: “I only trust him as far as I can throw him,” should never apply to Gollum. That’s because one could throw him quite far. He’s very light! However, one should not trust him that far.

As if Gollum was a really bad frisbee.

As if Gollum was a really bad frisbee.

Sam ends up apologizing to Gollum for being suspicious of his intentions. Of course, Gollum only confirms those suspicions when he admits that he’s been “sneaking.” That’s precisely what Sam thought he was doing, but Gollum wants this to come across as if it’s no big deal. It’s a joke, really. Either way, Sam goes to wake up Frodo, now that it’s time to move out again. Once Frodo is up, Gollum tells him how Sam’s been calling him names. Great. Sam has to backpedal from this, and he doesn’t do a very good job.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 32 – “Ick. I see you there, starting to pit Frodo and Sam against each other.”

Although Frodo understands what’s happened, I can see how eventually he could turn on Sam for something like this. He and Sam just got done (before their rest) talking about how Gollum, though treacherous, may be the best friend they have in these parts. He’s helped them so far, and has no intentions of turning them over to Mordor, even though he doesn’t necessarily want them to continue on their quest. All of a sudden, Frodo now wakes up to Sam berating Gollum, and Gollum begging for mercy in a pitiable sort of way. This doesn’t look good for Sam.

Let's face it: the only good thing that has happened to Sam since I started writing has been being turned into a Lego figure.

Let’s face it: the only good thing that has happened to Sam since I started writing has been being turned into a Lego figure.

So, the great war between Sam and Gollum has begun. Watch them destroy each other. A new chapter begins in two days, with only a little tiny bit tomorrow. THINGS IS GONNA HAPPEN.

No one dies today.

“‘But now we seem to have…'”

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There’s more talk of Gollum’s sudden but inevitable betrayal today…

I like so much about this.

I like so much about this.

It all ends as Sam lets Frodo drift off to sleep, his head in Sam’s lap. Sam, always screwing something up, falls asleep himself. This allows Gollum to sneak back up to the two, viewing Frodo with care. For a moment, there’s a glimpse of Gollum as an old hobbit, torn by time. He reaches out to Frodo, and Sam wakes violently. He can only yell suspiciously at Gollum, who certainly looks like he’s trying to catch the hobbits unawares. So it goes, every time.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 47 – “At least there’s something kind there, however fleeting it may be.”

It’s a beautiful moment, something rarely associated with Gollum. Ultimately, Gollum is alone, having outlived all that was once dear to him. Not only has the ring shaped his mind to its will, but it really is the only thing he has left. That’s it. He may be growing a small affection for Frodo, but this too is fleeting, just like Gollum’s moment of kindness. His greater goal will always be to save the ring for himself. What else can he do?

Speaking of moments, there’s another one here between Frodo and Sam that one could call…interesting. Sam really wants Frodo’s head in his lap. He wants to hold his master tight so that nothing can harm him. Sam’s a little clingy.

Shh, now...

Shh, now…

In some ways, Gollum is clingy, too. See, he and Sam have plenty in common! They both want Frodo to themselves. Wouldn’t you?

No one dies today.

“‘But where have you been to – sneaking off and sneaking back, you old villain?'”

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Today’s lateness is brought to you by an amazing night of watching the Chicago Blackhawks, so deal with it.

And there was much winking.

And there was much winking.

Today brings about the most realistic discussion of Gollum that Frodo and Sam have ever had. Neither of them trust him fully, and both very readily believe that he may have a plan against their best interests. For now, Gollum has slipped away once again, and Sam wonders if he’s informing on them to the orcs in the tower in the distance. No, Frodo doesn’t believe this. If Gollum had planned on letting the orcs of Mordor loose upon them, he would have done that by now, with plenty of chances. Whatever his plans, Gollum is probably up to something.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 23 – “Did you expect it to rise today? Find yourself a new blog.”

Hey, so Frodo isn’t totally enamored with Gollum! Not that I ever thought he was entirely so, but he did always have a knack for sticking up for the poor creature. It’s nice to see that even Frodo has his suspicions. However, he is smart enough to realize that Gollum ultimately wants the ring. He’ll do whatever he can to bring it into his possession. What’s great is that this doesn’t include selling Frodo and Sam out to Mordor. If Gollum were to do that, the ring would be lost to him. He has to think of some other way, something that he thinks is independent and secret to those that might be watching him. Actually, in knowing what he’s planning, he’s doing a pretty good job of that.

Independent and secretive: like a slightly sketchy small business!

Independent and secretive: like a slightly sketchy small business!

And it’s nice to be back on the side where we can be suspicious of Gollum. I never like trusting him, even though, well…I know exactly what he’ll do. I mean, in the end, he does the right thing. Kind of. In a way. YOU’LL SEE.

(If you don’t know already…SPOILERS!)

No one dies today.

“‘I think he really…'”

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Today is a lot more talk about heroic tales and whether or not Frodo and Sam have found themselves in the middle of their own new story. I think it’s safe to say that they have.

Don't be a chicken! Create your own story!

Don’t be a chicken! Create your own story!

They even realize that there’s a little bit of some great tales still living in their journey right now. The stories never end, even though the characters move out of the spotlight.

Sam then starts talking about hobbits in the future recounting the story of Frodo to their children. Is this possible? Frodo jokes around, including Sam as one of the important characters. This embarrasses Sam, even though it’s true. The laughing that the two let out is the first merriment that this land has seen…ever, really.

And within all this is an interesting moment. Are these the voices of Tolkien’s children? “Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring!” the imagined hobbits exclaim. “Frodo was very brave, wasn’t he, dad? I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn’t they put in more of his talk, dad? That’s what I like, it makes me laugh.” It’s well known that Tolkien told stories from Middle-earth (especially those from The Hobbit) to his children as bedtime stories. Did they have these feelings about them? I wouldn’t be surprised one bit.

Perhaps they were the world's first nerdy children.

Perhaps they were the world’s first nerdy children.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:


See, Sam’s talk is funny! There’s a ruralism, thrown in there when the children are complaining about not hearing enough of Sam’s language. And this is why I have a strong feeling that something from Tolkien’s children helped to write this passage.

No one dies today.

“‘We’re going on a bit too…'”

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Grab a Slurpee, it’s page 711!

She's ready.

She’s ready.

Today’s action has nothing to do with over-sugared drinks, sadly. Frodo, Sam, and Gollum finally find a crack in the cliffs to rest a little bit. They eat and drink a little, and see that their water is running low. Sam wonders if there is any water at all in Mordor. Orcs have to drink, right? Well, we learned in our time with Merry and Pippin that orcs drink a sort of foul black liquor grog. No, Frodo and Sam don’t want that. And it will be hard for them to find clean water going forward. How much longer can they hold out?

Sam then waxes about adventures and heroism and how their heroes of old (mostly good old Bilbo) found themselves in places that they have never planned to be. This is the kind of place that Frodo and Sam find themselves in now.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 55 – “Pretty neutral day. Too bad you have to drink water, too. Just one more mouth to feed.”

Okay, so even if Sam has his problems with making really naive choices sometimes, he has a good philosophical mindset. Growing up, he always imagined that adventurers went seeking out the journeys that produced great stories. He’s realized now that this isn’t true. You fall into things. Sam (and Frodo) never imagined that he would be in a place like this. He certainly never wanted to be here. Things have just worked out that way.

Preach, Sam.

Preach, Sam.

And, thankfully, it’s one day that’s free of walking, vertical or otherwise. Although, I wouldn’t worry too much. I’m sure we’ll get back to our roots before long. Get those shoes ready!

Or not, if you’re a hobbit.

No one dies today.

“‘But those aren’t always the…'”

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More vertical walking today, and this time with added despair!

Oh noes!

Oh noes!

Frodo can now see up to the top of the mountains that they’re headed up. It looks like there’s a tower on the height. He points it out to Sam, who immediately jumps on Gollum for leading them a way that is still guarded. Gollum replies with ease. It’s all guarded, you know. There isn’t a way into Mordor that is simply easy to get into. However, this might be the least guarded of them all. It’s the easiest, even though it really won’t be easy.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 58 – “Good logic. I can get behind that a little bit.”

Gollum even has the wherewithal to think that possibly the orcs stationed in that tower may have been called away to this war. Not only is this the smallest guard on an entrance to Mordor, but there’s the very real chance that it has been emptied or close to emptied. We did just see thousands of orcs marching out of Minas Morgul. Why wouldn’t more thousands be marching out from other places?

Also, that tower is still a long way off. And don’t forget about that tunnel.

All in all, Frodo is forgetting about what else he has to get through before this journey is over. Just like how they assume right away that this tower is an immediate threat (without thinking how far off it still is), Frodo assumes that once they get past it, there’s hardly anything more to get through. Um…wrong.

It's just across the way!

It’s just across the way!

Don’t get ahead of yourself, Frodo. Bad things can happen.

No one dies today.

“If once he could do that impossible thing, then somehow the…”

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