Path through the woods

Into the Unknown

Sauron`s wrath will be terrible, his retribution swift. The battle for Helm`s Deep is over. The battle for Middle-Earth is about to begin. All our hopes now lie with two little Hobbits somewhere in the Wilderness.

Gandalf

And then there were two…well, three

For all the battles taking place in Middle-Earth, there are only two little Hobbits who hold the future of all its inhabitants in their own hands. Although they might not feel as mighty as all the armies fighting against the enemy, their strength is crucial in the survival of all. 

The image of Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Théoden, Éomer and their men looking at the red sky over Mordor, brings a sense of pride, but at the same time a sense of fright.

They are completely aware there is a storm coming, and that the victory of Helm`s Deep is only a taste of what they can expect. The only remaining thing for them to do is to face it head-on, for only by their strength and courage do the two Hobbits have a chance at fulfilling their mission. 

It brings an image to mind that sums up the two fronts perfectly: Gandalf the White entering the Hall of Meduseld and walking towards the throne of King Théoden with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli clearing a path for him to move unobstructedly. A single ray of light moving through a treacherous path with a little army protecting him.

This is exactly what the Three Hunters, Gandalf, Théoden and the Rohirrim are doing for Sam and Frodo. They couldn`t have helped the two Hobbits in any other way, the Ring would have influenced them one by one. 

This way, unbeknownst to Frodo and Sam, they have armies fighting together under one banner for the same cause.

All the great stories

I wonder if we`ll ever be put into songs or tales.

Sam

It is a thought that crosses all of our minds eventually, will we remain in people`s minds after we are gone? It might be a foolish thing to think about, given we cannot know or even care about it when we are dead, but nonetheless, the quandary remains.

Considering the journey Frodo and Sam are on, there is no doubt that their story will be remembered in all the realms across Middle-Earth.

I wonder if people will ever say “Let`s hear about Frodo and the Ring.” And they`ll say, “Yes! That`s one of my favorite stories. Frodo was really courageous, wasn`t he, Dad? Yes, my boy. The most famousest of Hobbits. And that`s saying a lot.

Sam

Even though Sam was thinking about this mostly out of curiosity and amusement, a seriousness emerged from his telling. His story circles only around his Mr. Frodo, for, in his eyes, Frodo is the courageous one of the two of them and it is his burden to bear.

Frodo has initiated this journey, but right from the beginning, he wasn`t alone in it. Why even before the Fellowship formed in Rivendell, and even before Merry and Pippin ran into them in farmer Maggot`s crop, there was Sam.

Samwise the Brave

Frodo: “Well, you`ve left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the Brave. I want to hear more about Sam. Frodo wouldn`t have got far without Sam.” 

Sam: “Now, Mr. Frodo, you shouldn`t make fun. I was being serious.” 

Frodo: “So was I.” 

Sam: “Samwise the Brave.

After a well-deserved acknowledgment from Sam, comes a sobering revelation from Frodo. Leaving the casualness of this little conversation behind, Frodo turns to Sam with an honest and thankful look in his eyes. There is great awareness on his part knowing that he wouldn`t have been able to go through this journey alone. 

It comes as a bit of an embarrassment for Sam, lowering his eyes from Frodo`s face. He thinks it folly, but Frodo amends Sam`s doubts with a confirmation. Sam is as important to Frodo as Frodo is important to the task itself. 

Sam may have only been his protector and sidekick when their journey started, but through the turmoil, he became an inextricable part of the story. He could be seen as Frodo`s other persona, the one he would have been if the Ring had never come to him.

Sam represents that part of Frodo, and having him there with him reminds him that he is also fighting himself. Their task is to save Middle-Earth and their beloved Shire, but for Frodo, there is a personal journey he goes through.

He fights with himself to remain as unaffected by the Ring as possible, to save any part of his own self, his innocence, and good nature. His personal goal is to come back from this as “normal” as possible, to succeed in reintegrating himself into his old ways of life. Sam is there to help him through. 

Evil and self-pity

Sméagol: “Master. Master looks after us. Master wouldn`t hurt us.” 

Gollum: “Master broke his promise.” 

Sméagol. “Don`t ask Sméagol. Poor, poor Sméagol.

Sméagol holds onto the positive, declaring Frodo takes care of him and wouldn`t hurt him. A single moment of consideration and belief that Frodo could have actually saved him from the Men in Osgiliath. Gollum reminds him of the broken promise that led Sméagol to distrust and transformation into Gollum again. Since there are no other arguments he could use to defend his master, Sméagol turns to self-pity. 

A want for revenge

Gollum: “Master betrayed us. Wicked. Tricksy. False. We ought to wring his filthy little neck. Kill him! Kill him! Kill them both! And then we take the precious and we be the master!”

Sméagol: “But the fat Hobbit, he knows. Eyes always watching.” 

Gollum: “Then we stabs them out. Put out his eyeses and make him crawl.” 

Sméagol: “Yes. Yes. Yes.” 

Gollum: “Kill them both.” 

Sméagol: “Yes. No! No! It`s too risky. It`s too risky.”

Gollum has now reached another level of deviousness. He now describes what should be done to Frodo and Sam, every gruesome act. The anger he felt over the betrayal in Ithilien spurs in him an even crueler way of solving his problem. He seeks revenge on those he thinks have wronged him. 

However, now instead of presenting him with a counterargument, Sméagol aids him by bringing into consideration the hindrances to his ideas. United they both stand now against the two Hobbits.

Gollum is the instigator of the malice about to be perpetrated on their two companions, Sméagol, however, does not have the courage to accomplish it. Smeagol finds the idea of killing the Hobbits thrilling.

He is aware that he alone could not kill Frodo and Sam, because he would probably end up with an Elvish noose around his neck. Therefore, a third party is needed. Someone whose only purpose is to kill, without remorse, without hesitation. 

Hands on trees
Image by Simon Wijers from Pixabay

A grim foresight

Gollum: “We could let her do it.”

Sméagol: “Yes. She could do it.” 

Gollum: “Yes, precious, she could. And then we takes it once they`re dead.” 

Sméagol: “Once they`re dead. Shhh…. Come on, Hobbits. Long ways to go yet. Sméagol will show you the way.” 

Gollum: “Follow me.”

The cunningness of Gollum`s last remark is an allusion to what happens in the next leg of their journey. A cunning, malicious and sadistic call to follow his path.

Our journey continues in the Return of the King….

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