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Archive for the ‘9 – Shelob’s Lair’ Category

Today’s page outlines a battle far greater than the one actually taking place. In epic proportions, Frodo holds the phial of light given to him by Galadriel, fighting back the darkness. However, another great power fights against this – a dark force now seen by its many eyes – just outside the realm of light.

Yes, it’s really just Frodo holding a light up in the dark cave, and an evil creature drawing back in anger.

Ah! Light is bad!

Ah! Light is bad!

However, this gets multiplied. Here is Frodo, holding aloft the light of a star, bottled magically by one of the most powerful elves in Middle-earth. There is ancient power in that light, and a strange urging makes Frodo call out in Elvish. Shelob, also an ancient power herself, being descended from Ungoliant, has heard this cry before, though she has no need to heed it. It’s a great battle between light and dark, even though that’s a bit blown up.

Now, how well do you remember this little bottle of light? There have been a few mentions of it recently, as Frodo remembered its existence in his pocket, but the first time it showed up was way back on page 376, as Galadriel handed out gifts before the Fellowship Company took their leave of Lothlórien. Frodo received this last of all, though it has been forgotten since then.

Sometimes, our heroes forget about things that they’ve left in their pockets…

And these turn out to be important things.

And these turn out to be important things.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

Aiya

Elenion

Ancalima

Elvish words! You’d think at some point we’d run into some that get repeated. No, the language is really too full for that. Sorry, but there are always going to be new words in that regard, it looks like.

No one dies today.

“Monstrous and abominable eyes they were, bestial and yet filled with purpose and with hideous delight, gloating over their prey trapped beyond all hope of escape.”

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Bad. Bad bad bad. Bad. Bad. BAD.

Strong!

Strong!

There’s this opening to the side. It’s bad. It smells really bad. It feels really bad. It is. Bad. That is. Frodo and Sam stumble by it, though the feeling of dread never really goes away. They soon come to a fork in the cave, and realize that Gollum is nowhere to be found. This, clearly, was his trap. Sam even exclaims so.

Pictured: Sam Gamgee.

Pictured: Sam Gamgee.

I mean, really. Sam says: “It’s a trap!” With the exclamation point. It’s amazing.

However, the awesomeness ends when Frodo and Sam hear a terrifying noise behind them. Yes, that feeling of being hunted is turning out to be true. They can’t see anything, but something is certainly back there.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 7 – “And now we come to it. You suck.”

So…that offshoot passage was probably Shelob’s nest or something. The smell in there is death, of course. And now she’s hunting the hobbits. Gollum, with the adapted ability to see well in the dark, has either sprinted on ahead or slipped off into a branching passage unnoticed. He’s probably more hiding right now than anything else, making sure that he doesn’t get caught up in the hunt. Although, that would be wonderful poetic irony.

Don’t you think?

Regardless, Frodo and Sam find themselves in a very helpless position. Sight is gone, smell is overwhelmed, hearing is sketchy, and touch is about all they have. (We’re going to assume that they’re not taste-testing Shelob.) And they’re up against something that can do all of the above easily, especially the tasting.

Yes, this one does smell a little bit more like "stupid fat hobbit" than Sample A did!

Yes, this one does smell a little bit more like “stupid fat hobbit” than Sample A did!

No one dies today.

“Then the light became colour:…”

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This really is a bad place. In addition to the punishing darkness (more on that later), the stench is overpowering, and a feeling of dread is slowly dulling the senses of Frodo and Sam. Eventually, all they have left is smell, and that’s not what you want right now. The hobbits try to keep one hand on each side of the walls, but even that gets hard.

It is, however, the easiest way to get through a maze.

It is, however, the easiest way to get through a maze.

They hold hands going forward, only walking with the pure drive to get out of here. That, and at least the main way seems straight and even, so they don’t have to work too hard.

And where’s Gollum? In front.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 21 – “I have a bad feeling about this.”

So. Darkness. I really got a good feeling for this last night. After work, at, you know, good old 2:30am, I discovered that I needed to make a quick little jaunt into Indiana to save some folks (girlfriend, of course) from a dead van stranded on the side of the highway. I learned two things: first of all, that the state of Indiana desperately needs to invest in some streetlights, and, second, how it feels driving in near complete blackness. It was the middle of the night, but also there was dense fog EVERYWHERE. I totally got what Frodo and Sam might be feeling right now. In my case, instead of walking into a stinky, scary cave, I was hurtling down a slightly unfamiliar highway. At least, I thought it was similar. And it was a little frightening.

No big deal.

No big deal.

Of course, not as frightening as what Frodo and Sam are really going through. They don’t even understand it fully yet. However, the oppressing feeling of doom is certainly there. That’s always a bad sign of things to come in this book. You should always trust your instincts here. Always.

No one dies today.

“Almost he fell sideways into the emptiness. Here was some…”

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Things are looking down, in the form of a dark, smelly cave. And I mean smelly.

Thanks Shelob!

Thanks Shelob!

The opening to the horrible lair of the spider that Frodo and Sam have no clue about stands in front of them. The smell is truly awful. Gollum laughs it off, saying that doesn’t mind. Clearly, he has some issues with his sense of smell.

Entering, the cave blots out all light. Very dark. This true darkness hasn’t been seen (or…not seen) since Moria, and that was a special kind of dark. Apparently, this is worse.

First Mentions:

-Shelob’s Lair/Torech Ungol: The name of the cave, further cementing that Shelob is commonly referred to by naming her mother.

-Shelob: Ah, the spider! We haven’t seen her, or much less heard of her yet. Am I spoiling things? Well, this isn’t the blog for people reading along with me for the first time.

Smell of death? Probably. Shelob’s been living here for years uncounted, and feasting on the passing orcs for that long. And I don’t think she’s keen on cleaning up shop. Generally speaking, monstrous creatures don’t smell too nice. Why bother, you know?

Today’s Gollum Meter: 33 – “Don’t worry, it’ll be fine? Sure…”

I had this brief moment of remembering, as I was naming Shelob “she” a few times, that this book really does lack female characters. Here’s one!

Oh…yeah. And Shelob’s not a very good example. No, not at all.

Now there's a strong role model!

Now there’s a strong role model!

Truly, we have the best parts of Éowyn still to come, so that should help that argument. And…yeah, I guess Galadriel’s pretty alright, but very absent in terms of the active plot.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-unshapen

-Torech

-Shelob’s

Rest easy, there’s a bit of action coming up that doesn’t involve walking! But…don’t rest easy, because it’s going to be terrifying.

No one dies today.

“Here the air was still, stagnant, heavy, and…”

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