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Old 10-09-2005, 03:20 PM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
Princess of Skwerlz
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: where the Sea is eastwards (WtR: 6060 miles)
Posts: 7,536
Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Silmaril LotR -- Book 6 - Chapter 3 - Mount Doom

We have reached the goal of the Quest (though not the end of the story)! This is the decisive chapter, the one we've been moving toward for many, many pages. Would you call it the book's most important chapter?

Two Elven objects play a vital part in this final stage of the journey - the cloak, which warms and protects Sam and Frodo, and the lembas, which is shown to have special virtues. What do you think of its ability to give superhuman strength?

We see that Sam's hope was closely connected with the thought of returning back home at the end of their adventures. When he loses that, his hope is now finally gone - at least seemingly. Yet he, like Frodo has done for longer, carries on without hope. What gives him the strength? He takes over responsibility for the last lap of the journey, since Frodo seems without initiative, though he still has some will.

We feel with Sam as he lets go of his treasured pots and pans to lighten their load - I'm reminded of Aragorn's words about being able to cast away a treasure at need. Again, Frodo states his unwillingness to bear weapons - neither fair nor foul. We witness an internal debate of Sam's that reminds us a bit of Gollum's schizophrenic conversations. What do you think of the two voices we hear?

Sam carries Frodo, who is almost without strength. When I read that, I think of the famous words of the big brother who carries his younger sibling: "He ain't heavy - he's my brother!"

I can't help but wonder - why is it a priority of Sauron to keep the road to the Sammath Naur functional? We know he created the Ring there, but why would he want to go there otherwise?

Even before the climactic events in the mountain, Gollum fulfils an important purpose - in attacking Frodo, he causes him to draw on his reserves (adrenalin!) for the strength he needs to master the final lap. Two things in particular stand out to me in this passage - Sam's vision of the inner nature of the two opponents, and Frodo's prophetic words: "If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom." Would you consider that a curse or 'mere' foretelling?

Sam's mercy in sparing Gollum's life parallels Bilbo's - and reminds of Gandalf's speech about mercy.

Frodo's fateful choice strikes me as particularly interesting because of the way he chooses his words to proclaim his choice: "But I do not choose now to do what I came to do." He says "I do not choose", yet he does choose! Is it merely a quirky way of putting what he's saying, or is there some significance to that choice of words?

The triumvirate meets in Sammath Naur, the three who were each needed to complete the task of destroying the Ring. Gollum's end fulfils both Frodo's and Gandalf's prophecies about the role he had to play and his punishment for taking the Ring from Frodo.

The descriptive passage about the end of Sauron's realm is wonderful! How does it affect you when you read it?

The end of the chapter is the end of all things for Frodo and Sam - peace and forgiveness, yet no thought that there could be a future for them personally. Would it have been better for Frodo if he could have died right then? Yet even then there is something positive - they are together. Neither is alone.
'Mercy!' cried Gandalf. 'If the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What more do you want to know?' 'The whole history of Middle-earth...'
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