It’s gotten very quiet, all of a sudden, as we return to Sam and Frodo, who have slightly better than no chance of succeeding at this juncture. I like this part of the book, I think partially because of the scenery, partially because of the climbing around, and partially for it’s simplicity and aforementioned quiet. Up to this point, we’ve been dealing with large groups of people, lot’s of chatter, sword swinging, death, mayhem, chanting ,etc.
It’s so quiet you can hear the pitter-patter of little evil feet, as Gollum makes his first real appearance since “The Hobbit”. Just as Sam and Frodo do the near impossible with the help of magic Elvish rope, Gollum is spotted crawling after them like an insect. The three of them make for an interesting dynamic with Frodo as the focal point, while Sam and Gollum snipe at each other.
Frodo’s kindness seems bring out some deeply buried memories of before Gollum became so wretched, and there seems to be a tug of war between his original self, Smeagol and the current Gollum.
One way or the other, Frodo, who I’m becoming increasingly impressed with, realizes that they really have no chance of completing their quest without Gollum/Smeagols help, and expertly manages this Gollum situation pretty well. Seeing as he is carrying the only thing in the world that Gollum cares about, this is pretty amazing.
Gollum being who he is, is leading them into some sort of trap, which only the reader is privy to. This is one of the mysteries that ceases being a mystery after you’ve read the story(or seen the movie, nowadays). All we know at this point is that there is a ‘She’ with an unpleasant personality, no doubt.
This section is mainly about Sam, when it comes down to it, and his struggles with doing his master’s wishes whilst not offing Gollum in his sleep. Sam has some intense feelings for Frodo it turns out. This is another of the things I’d forgotten about.
To me the hobbits are the hobbits, as they are to the other peoples of middle-earth. In the Shire though, Frodo is an aristrocrat, and Sam is a laborer, and this master-servant dynamic is one of the many feudal throwbacks, that idea that the wealthy are somehow more noble and worthy(I suppose this still exists now, but for the most part only the wealthy feel that way about it.) In this context, I suppose Sam’s feelings don’t seem quite so over the top. Being the ringbearer as well makes Frodo The Most Important Hobbit of All Time. Even with all that being said, Frodo is quite impressive, when it comes down to it, and is pressing on through obvious exhaustion(much of it Ring caused) and lack of hope.
The hobbits, taking Gollum’s Dangerous Shortcut, happen to run into some folks from Gondor, thanks to Sam’s wise decision to make some rabbit stew(rabbits courtesy of Gollum), and then forget to smother the fire properly. They are being lead by Boromir’s brother, Faramir. Awkward. The increasingly wiser Frodo does quite the masterful job of leaving out important bits of information during questioning, and we(I) realize that he obviously doesn’t know anything that happened after he left the Fellowship, Boromir’s death included. The whole situation is too much for Sam, and it causes him to lose all control of his mouth, and soon the Ring’s out of the bag. Fortunately, Faramir doesn’t seem to have Boromir’s gimme gimme gimme disposition or we have a very different story from here on out.
You get to know this little group from Gondor better than the Rohirrim, there is a bit of history, the necessary strategic alliance with Rohan, etc(that may actually be chapter 6). One gets a sense of Gondor without even being there.
Despite nothing much happening besides travel and description, I didn’t find this part at all boring, and tore through it pretty quick. 🙂
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