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Posts Tagged ‘Mount Doom’

Let the feasting begin!

Frodo and Sam are led into a great feast along with all the kings, captains, and such. They are the guests of honor. Two small boys, seeming to be servants, appear dressed in the livery of Gondor and Rohan. They are none other than Merry and Pippin, and Sam gapes at their positions. They won’t talk long (things to do, you know), but Sam notices how tall they’ve gotten.

Hey down there.

Hey down there.

After the feast, Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Legolas, and Gimli sit around telling their tales. There’s a lot to be caught up on.

I can’t help but feel like Legolas and Gimli have fallen out to be very minor characters. Ever since around the beginning of Return of the King, they haven’t been mentioned much. It very much became Aragorn’s story out of theirs, and they faded away. I do enjoy having them around.

Meanwhile, I can’t imagine how Frodo and Sam must be feeling. If indeed they have been out this whole time, the transition for them from practically dying on the slopes of Mount Doom to this extravaganza must be extreme. One moment your life is failing, and the next you’re living the life of luxury. How can one process that so quickly? For all accounts, they’re handling it well, but inside they must be jolted.

Yeah, like that.

Yeah, like that.

But all Sam can think about is how tall Merry and Pippin are. He’s a simple dude.

No one dies today.

“‘But there it is: you’re three inches taller than you ought to be, or I’m a dwarf.'”

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It’s eagle-flyin’ time, so best you strap up.

I'm sorry, Gwaihir can't hear you over his FREEDOM.

I’m sorry, Gwaihir can’t hear you over his FREEDOM.

Gandalf enlists Gwaihir and two other eagles to fly into Mordor. This is a rescue mission.

Frodo and Sam, meanwhile, are right where we left them. Frodo even says his last line again, so we overlap a bit. Sam encourages Frodo to shuffle on down Mount Doom, away from where the Cracks of Doom are smoking and exploding in flames and magma. They try to make it somewhere safe, but are soon trapped by the lava flows. Sam does his best to keep talking to stay his fear.

First Mentions:

-Meneldor: Fast eagle, and apparently well thought of enough by Gwaihir to be the third eagle chosen for this trip. Landroval comes too, of course. Bros before…other eagles.

In thinking about our perspective shifts, this is the first time that we’ve actually jumped back at all earlier than where we left a previous storyline. Sure, it’s only for one statement, but it happens. It also shows how important the line: “I am glad that you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam,” is in the scheme of things. I think “the end of all things” is a fantastic phrase, and I use it in numerous situations.

Most of them inappropriate.

Most of them inappropriate.

Don’t forget that Frodo is missing a finger, and he would totally have passed out from loss of blood by this point.

This book is SO unrealistic.

/sarcasm

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Meneldor

¡Hombres, the puerta!

No one dies today.

“But even while he spoke so, to keep fear away until the very last,…”

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We shift perspective. Let’s go back out to the battle, shall we?

We’re arriving with Aragorn just slightly earlier than we left Frodo and Sam. The battle still rages around him, and the eagles are just arriving to do battle with the Nazgûl. Suddenly, all forces turn tail. The Nazgûl fly off, and the ground armies see their peril. This is a valuable moment to regroup for the armies of men, and they charge forward with new hope.

Now, wait just a minute...

Now, wait just a minute…

First Mentions:

-the Field of Cormallen: Wood-lined plain southwest of the Black Gate where Aragorn is going to head after the battle. Seems like an odd name for this chapter. Oh, well.

-Landroval: Brother of Gwaihir, Windlord of the eagles. Gwaihir may be the lord, but Landroval is bigger.

-Thorondor: Great father and lord of all eagles, distantly related to Gwaihir and Landroval. We hear about him now because why not?

-the Encircling Mountains: Mountains that once stood around the hidden city of Gondolin. Thorondor lived here.

Getting some history of the eagles isn’t bad, even though it does feel out of place. Now, even though we’re talking about eagles, let’s never mention that horrible argument that the eagles should have just flown the ring to Mount Doom. That’s an argument for people who like shortcuts and clearly DON’T LIKE THIS STORY AT ALL. I have strong feelings about that.

NO NO NO NO NO.

NO NO NO NO NO.

Of all the times we’ve jumped back in time a little bit when we’ve shifted point of view, this is definitely the closest. By the end of this page, we’re caught back up to where we were, with everything in Mordor crumbling down. Now, how long until someone makes a plan to go and get Frodo and Sam? I don’t know, but that needs to happen.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-CORMALLEN

-Landroval

-Thorondor

Will Cormallen show up again when it’s not all caps? Important questions.

“But Gandalf lifted up his arms and called once more in a clear voice:…”

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I actually had a pretty solid plan of getting this post out at a reasonable time tonight, then literally EVERYTHING took way longer than planned, and here I am at good ol’ stupid o’clock pounding this out. I admit, this page deserves better.

Are these stickers?

Are these stickers?

The ring is gone. It fell into Mount Doom with Gollum, and Sauron’s power is destroyed. Everything in Mordor goes wild: towers falling, fires blazing, armies running in disarray; the Nazgûl are burnt out of the skies. Sam runs to Frodo and drags him outside before they’re engulfed in the churning magma, and the two lie in each other’s arms, just happy to have made it to the end of all things. Frodo wakens, and looks to be coming around to his former self. He thanks Sam for all he’s done.

Yep, that’s the end of all things. End of the book, right?

Today’s Gollum Meter: 92 – “I think you’re going to get a raise every time you come up again.”

NOPE. We’ve still got like 60 pages, you guys! Of course, this is the first point in the movie where the screen fades out, somewhat signaling an ending. There’s a lot of those.

Direct line quote, that.

Direct line quote, that.

Anyway, the main quest is over! The big bad is defeated! Much rejoicing! We’ll get to that, but now my narrative changes a little bit. I’ve been saying that I’ve committed to “taking the ring to Mordor” with this blog. Well, the text has done it, but I’m not done yet. However, saying something like “sailing on the last ship from the Grey Havens” just doesn’t have the same, um…ring to it. I’ll stick with my previous goal, even though it’s technically obsolete.

“‘Here at the end of all things, Sam.'”

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Frodo invisible. Sam down. Gollum in attack mode. This is it.

Sam comes to and sees a strange interaction. Gollum is fighting air, swinging left and right, until he makes a motion to bite something. Frodo appears, falling to the ground, and Gollum holds a finger and the ring. He dances and jumps for joy. After years and tracking, hunting, and stalking, Gollum finally has his Precious again.

Relevant.

Relevant.

The victory is short lived. Gollum steps wrong, and teeters over and into the chasm.

And if you have any knowledge of this story, you know how this happens already. This brings the end of the ring. Gollum is the final ringbearer, accidentally falling with it into the fire of Mount Doom. So, does that mean…

Today’s Gollum Meter: 87 – “I can’t go all the way to the top, but you’re the very reason that the evil is brought down. That counts for a lot.”

Yeah, I kind of always knew that Gollum’s rating would take a huge jump on his last day. I argued with myself about whether to bring it all the way up to 100, but that just didn’t seem appropriate. He does attack Sam and Frodo to get here, and now Frodo’s missing a finger. Nobody’s perfect.

OM NOM NOM.

OM NOM NOM.

We have one more page in this chapter, and I guess technically that’s when the ring is destroyed, but we can call Gollum gone. He falls far enough to kill him with or without lava, but this time, the floor is ACTUALLY LAVA.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-steerless

Oh, yeah, there’s a cool part mentioning how Sauron feels the power of the ring within Mount Doom, and turns his entire attention to it. His servants are lost without his guidance, so it seems like the battle around Aragorn falls utterly apart. That’s helpful for him.

“Out of the depths came his last wail Precious, and he was gone.”

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I feel as though I stand on a precipice, having taken this unfathomable journey, yet procrastinating. Almost every night, I put this off. It’s not because I don’t want to do it – I have thoughts and ideas about what to post from the moment I read/type each page – but I get stuck, teetering on the edge of committing to the plunge of writing another post, and thus bringing about the end of my night.

And so it is with Frodo as well.

After letting Gollum go, Sam turns to run after Frodo. He can’t see him, and so follows the pathway up Mount Doom until it reaches an opening in the cone. Darkness swallows what dim light there is, and Sam is hesitant to enter. Red light leaps from the chasms and fissures of the volcano, and in its shadows Sam sees Frodo standing still on the edge. Frodo turns to Sam, and declines to destroy the ring. It is his.

Just don't go cross-eyed.

Just don’t go cross-eyed.

All this time, a shadow has followed Sam. He didn’t see Gollum turn and sneak back.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 2 – “Pity is useless now.”

Frustratingly, if I wasn’t holding myself down to one page a day, we could be flying at this point. No one reads the climax of a book this slowly, and it hurts a little bit. You’ll see at the end of this post as well that this page ends on the worst cliffhanger imaginable. We all know what’s coming, but we – I – need to see it. We crave it, just like how Gollum or Frodo craves the ring. Events are moving quickly, though I won’t allow myself to keep at their pace. It’s maddening.

Anyway, you have to know where this is going. Three chapters only into the second half of Return of the King, and our big climax is mounting. That should give you an idea of just how much there is left after that. I may even be thinking that my estimated end time of March was a little early. I refuse to do the math, but we might just sneak into April. And the ring is going down this week. Still such a looooooong way to go.

No one dies today.

“Sam gasped, but he had no chance to cry out, for at that moment many things happened.”

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It’s crawling time. When Frodo and Sam get up to get going once more, Frodo suggests crawling. Okay. Let’s do that.

Move, move, move!

Move, move, move!

The road cuts across Mount Doom before them, a pathway built and maintained that stretches from Barad-dûr to the mountain. Frodo suddenly stops and looks east, seeing Sauron’s fortress before him. Sauron’s attention is turned elsewhere, however, towards the battle brewing with Aragorn’s forces at the Black Gate. Frodo collapses at the sight.

First Mentions:

-Sauron’s Road: Aw, it’s his personal road! I mean, I guess what else are you going to call it?

-the Window of the Eye: This appears to be a window to Sauron’s own chamber in Barad-dûr. This begs the question…

So, what about that Eye of Sauron? Book purists say that Peter Jackson’s depiction of Barad-dûr with a big old flaming eye on top was ridiculous. Sure, it really doesn’t seem to fit with the way magic and structures worked together in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, but hear me out a second…I think Jackson’s version was fairly darn faithful to the text. Observe: “One moment only it stared out, but as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye.”

Does that not sound somewhat like what the film visualized? Now, much is made of similes when comparing the text to the films, such as the balrog’s shadow stretching out “like two vast wings.” Does that mean the balrog has wings, or that its shadow merely acts like wings? Much debate. In the Eye of Sauron’s case, we have another simile: “But as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red.” However, this simile doesn’t appear to be talking about some sort of flaming eye. In fact, it mentions the possible existence of a window, but the flame and eye are not included in its comparison. In essence, it says that a flaming eye spouts from something like a window, but does not imply the true existence of a window.

So, yes?

So evil.

So evil.

There isn’t a pure and simple answer here. I didn’t think that there would be anything this notable to debate, though. I had assumed that we never got a clear description of Barad-dûr, and most people simply didn’t envision it having a flaming eye atop it. Not to say that it couldn’t, but no one specifically said that it did. Instead, we do have a description, and it actually seems to indicate this appearance.

And what does it matter? Envision it how you like. I’m reading too much into things, like I do.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Sammath

No, that is not an alternate nickname for Samwise, but maybe it should be.

No one dies today.

“Faint, almost inaudibly, he heard Frodo whis-…”

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I’m making a concerted effort to write this earlier than I have been getting used to, to try to avoid this anger that the internet has developed for me. I did say I thought that, at some point, my tardiness would come back to bite me. It’s been trying.

In its cold heart, the internet has been plotting my downfall.

In its cold heart, the internet has been plotting my downfall.

In today’s action, Sam begins his march up Mount Doom with Frodo on his back. Sam finds Frodo surprisingly light, and is happy to not notice any added weight from the ring. He walks until he can go no further, then sets Frodo down. Frodo opens his eyes and thanks Sam. Sam then sees a path some way ahead, winding up the mountain. This is their chance. Though Sam still does not know the way, this path will lead him exactly where they need to go.

Hey! A path! To be honest, I have no idea what a path is doing in this part of the world. How often does Sauron venture up to the Cracks of Doom? You’d think that he went up there to forge the ring, but I wouldn’t know of any other reason for a continuous usage of the direct magma. Who’s maintaining this path? That might be either the worst or best job in Mordor, when you think about it.

Better than fighting, right?

Better than fighting, right?

I mean, really, there are a lot of roads in Mordor, for forces marching this way and that. There has to be someone in charge of them, and undoubtedly someone who ventures up here from time to time. It’s like the guy who does the landscaping on one mostly inaccessible spot on a Disney World ride. It’s hard to get to, but it has to be done, I guess.

Enough about that! We’re so close! Sam got further today than he expected, and we’re somewhat halfway up Mount Doom. Onward!

No one dies today.

“Sam could not see the course immediately above him, where it was lowest, for a steep slope went up from where he stood; but he…”

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Okay, so today isn’t about walking, which is amazingly different. Sam and Frodo are once again resting after a long day’s march, though Sam can’t sleep much. He sits awake for most of the night, which seems to go on endlessly. When Sam rises, he rouses Frodo, who begins to helplessly crawl up the side of Mount Doom, now looming before them. That won’t do, so Sam plans on carrying Frodo.

*Music swells*

Yeah, the line itself is a little different from the “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” that the movie touts. It’s really “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well!” It just doesn’t have the same, uh…ring to it when you include the ring.

Nevertheless, we’ve noted one more time that this appears to be the end of the journey. Frodo and Sam are now literally at the feet of Mount Doom, though it certainly looks like it will take some time to climb, as well as to find the entrance that they need to use. Sam still has no idea what they really have to do at that point.

Meanwhile, anyone who ever questions who the real main character of this book is needs to take a second read. I’ve been smoldering on this for a while now, but Sam is clearly the one who we’ve truly taken this journey with. We’ve watched him grow, even as Frodo deteriorated. Instead of getting inside Frodo’s mind all this time, we’ve been traveling with Sam. He’s only the gardner, but he’s our hero now. Carry Frodo to victory!

No one dies today.

“‘Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go.'”

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Sam’s thirsty and weary mind plays games with him as he and Frodo take their rest. In short, today’s page is mostly about Sam arguing with himself, trying to both fortify and dash his hopes of reaching Mount Doom. He seems to be willing to give all that it may take, though he still has very low expectations of success. He also has no idea what to do with the ring once they get to the mountain of fire.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY HANDS.

I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY HANDS.

A rumble is felt underground from Mount Doom, and the next day’s march dawns. This appears to be the end.

First Mentions:

-the Pool at Bywater: Somewhat of a swimming hole in the Shire. Hobbits don’t much like boats and swimming, though.

-Jolly Cotton: Wilcome “Jolly” Cotton is a friend of Sam’s, and brother to his dear Rosie Cotton.

-Tom: Another Cotton sibling, the eldest of the five.

-Nibs: The youngest Cotton, whose real name is Carl. Carl, Nibs, whatever.

There’s a lot of time spent these last few days in Sam remembering details from the Shire. This is contrasted nicely with Frodo’s dissolution of memory. Sam doesn’t have the same weight that Frodo does, and he’s surviving off of fond memories from his home. If he can complete their task, maybe, just maybe, he’ll get to go back to all of this.

Deep down, we're all just trying to get back to a simpler time in life.

Deep down, we’re all just trying to get back to a simpler time in life.

OKAY. OKAY. LET’S GET THERE ALREADY.

The end of this page starts off with the idea that Frodo and Sam are on the last leg of their journey. I want it. FINISH IT.

In truth, I’ve come to the realization that the destruction of the ring won’t be even close to the end for me. The post-climax action of this book continues on for quite a while. I’m sure there will be a big release on my part once we hit that big destruction moment, but don’t you ever get comfortable in thinking that the end is in sight.

No one dies today.

“He was in pain, and so parched that he could no longer swallow even a…”

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