Dark clouds over landscape

Darkness Descends

Frodo and Sam on their way to Cirith Ungol, rest in a small cavernous space. Sam sleeps soundly while Frodo remains awake and alert. It isn`t the fear of the place that is keeping him up. It is the Ring around his neck.

Restless

Frodo`s behavior has become different. He stares blankly into space without there being a sense of him thinking about anything in particular. His eyes are open and focused, but there isn`t anything particular to focus on. The chain around his neck starts to itch. It has begun to etch its way into Frodo`s skin.

The Ring is gaining weight as it comes ever closer to its maker. Its power increases, its influence on Frodo strengthens thereby becoming heavier. There is a notable fear as he looks over his shoulder to make sure Sam isn`t trying to get to the Ring himself or Gollum for that matter. He is ever aware of the danger of the Ring being stolen even by his truest companion.

Frodo takes the Ring between his fingers, admiring its shape, its shine and feeling its power emanating. As he stares at it unblinkingly his breath becomes irregular and short. It is as if the excitement of admiring the Ring has set his heart a flutter throwing his pulse and his breath way off their normal rhythm.

In a panic, he hides the Ring under his vest, as he hears Gollum approaching. Gollum urges both Sam and Frodo to go at once. 

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Basic needs

Haven`t you had any sleep, Mr. Frodo?

Sam

Frodo simply shakes his head, giving Sam a negative answer to his question. He looks at Sam wide-eyed, concerned, afraid, almost scared of the effect the Ring has had. If Sam hadn`t asked him about his sleep, Frodo might have never thought about it. The Ring consumes his thoughts and leaves very little to any other kinds of primary preoccupations.

I`ve gone and had too much. It must be getting late.

Sam

Sam has no trouble sleeping as much as he can. However, in this instance, that is a good thing. He needs to maintain his strength and all his faculties in order to help his friend through this. Frodo needs him to be at his most rested and alert. As Frodo`s strength is failing, there must be enough in Sam for both of them.

A dark overcast

No. It isn`t. It isn`t midday yet. The days are growing darker.

Frodo

The days are darker. A thick black overcast is consuming the skies above them. The darkness is moving towards all the lands that were once green and alive with beauty. 

Frodo finds himself in an unknown place, a dark place. And I do not mean only his physical surroundings. His mind is not his own, his body either. He is starting to lose himself and give in to the will of the Ring, rapidly. The need for possession and admiration is growing stronger. To resist is pointless and almost impossible. 

Threat beneath their feet

The ground shakes. There is no doubt about it being an earthquake, but not one caused by the movement of tectonic plates. Sauron is gathering his strength, as much as it is possible for him in his incorporeal state. All armies he manipulated through Saruman to join him in his quest to annihilate the world of Men, are giving him the confidence he needs to follow through on his plans.

Since Saruman had lost the battles on both Helm`s Deep and his own doorstep, he is of no use to Sauron anymore. Therefore, Sauron has to gather as many armies for himself to compensate for the loss that Saruman had brought him. To express his rage and anger at the situation in which he finds himself, the ground beneath the Hobbits` feet shakes. It might be the only thing he can do to instill terror in the hearts of all those who oppose him, but it is also the most effective.

Haste

Gollum: “Come on! Must go! No time!”

Sam: “Not before Mr. Frodo`s had something to eat.” 

Gollum: “No time to lose, silly.”

Gollum is painfully aware of the threat that hovers over his head. He urges Sam for them to press on, knowing full well what would happen if they were caught by the enemy. The physical pain and emotional distress of being a captive of Mordor still make him run and hide.

Sustenance

Sam: “Here.” 

Frodo: “What about you?”

Sam: “Oh, no, I`m not hungry. Leastways, not for lembas bread.” 

Frodo: “Sam.”

Although the ground itself gives out a menacing growl, Sam does not let it sway him from his duty to take care of his friend. They can`t set out on another day of trodding an unknown land without Frodo eating something to keep up his physical strength.

Sam doesn`t mind sacrificing his own piece of food for Frodo. Even though he tries to convince Frodo of him not needing to satisfy his hunger, Frodo knows that could not be true, for both of them have trekked the same path. Nevertheless, Sam gives up his morsel of food.

Journey home?

Sam: “Alright. We don`t have that much left. We have to be careful or we`re going to run out. You go ahead and eat that, Mr. Frodo. I`ve rationed it. There should be enough.”

Frodo: “For what?”

Sam: “The journey home.”

Frodo begins to doubt their return home. He seems afraid of it not happening. There is a sense of sadness and of no return. Without ever uttering a word, it becomes clear to Frodo that this might be a one-way journey to Mordor. Some little part of him knows that in one way or another, this journey will claim him.

The journey back had been a plan of his ever since he started his quest. However, now it appears to be a surprise as Sam mentions it. It is no wonder that Sam`s rationing caught him off guard, for everything that happened to him so far changed his perception of the world and his own inner world. He lives in fear of becoming as consumed by the Ring as Gollum is. He is scared of losing himself completely.

On top of that, he has witnessed the death of his dear friend and council Gandalf. That in itself cut his hope of accomplishing this task in half. He had been left to his own devices, with a strong supportive hand of Sam. However, no matter how strong a character Sam is, Frodo`s personal experience is different than anyone else`s and no one could completely understand him.

Apart from being his friend and companion on this perilous journey, Sam has also taken to managing their food source. He knows how much they need to keep up their strength. He has also made sure they have enough for a round trip. However, a journey home is a very delicate subject, and one Frodo to which has not given any thought, which is why he looks at Sam with a slight expression of surprise.

Chain on a neck
Photo by Sonny Ravesteijn on Unsplash

Frodo`s decline

Insomnia and the growing power of the Ring are weakening Frodo`s body and spirit. His voice is becoming thinner and quieter. His walk is feeble and lifeless. 

Frodo`s strength is visibly failing. He can barely put one foot in front of the other. He stoops along following the footsteps of Gollum as his guide. Behind him is Sam, watching him move and readying himself to help if Frodo`s body should give in.

Sauron has left Saruman unprotected to fend for himself against the consequences of his actions. Now he has to account for his actions. Follow me to my next post.

Featured photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash.

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