Saturday, March 22, 2014

LOTR Read-Along: The Forbidden Pool (TTT Ch. 17)

I hate this chapter.  Hate it hate it hate it hate it.  All those warm fuzzies from last chapter?  Gone.  This is pretty much the only time I truly sympathize with Gollum -- how betrayed he must feel when Frodo coaxes him closer and then strange men pop a bag over his head and tie him up.  It's awful!  Hate it!  Yeah, yeah, it's necessary for the plot and whatever.  But I'm still sitting here glaring.

When Faramir says "I will declare my doom" (p. 675) to Frodo and then says he's going to let Frodo and Sam and Gollum go free, I always took that to meant that he was dooming himself to death if Frodo and Co. didn't behave themselves, that it was his doom.  But that's not it, is it.  He's declaring his decision, a doom for them, a verdict.  Huh.

Favorite Lines:

"It is a place of sleepless malice, full of lidless eyes" (p. 677).

"I must take such paths as I can find" (p. 678).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Faramir says to Gollum, "There are locked doors and closed windows in your mind, and dark rooms behind them" (p. 674), and then he says he knows Gollum is planning something treacherous because Faramir "perceived [it] clearly in his mind" (p. 677).  And that he knows Gollum has done murder because he "read it in him" (p.678).  So does Faramir have some mind-reading abilities, or is he an extremely shrewd judge of character, or what?


  1. I agree. Awful!! Re Faramir's "doom". It could still be regarding himself a bit. At the very least, he knew what sort of welcome to expect from his father if he let the travelers go. And about the mind-reading... I have no idea, though it never seems elsewhere like he's attributed with any particular "powers". It could just be setting him in a class with others-Gandalf and Aragorn and so on-who could read Gollum as well. What is your opinion?

    Oh-and to keep you updated-I'm working on my post! :-)

    1. Does he at some point say his life will be forfeit if they misbehave? Or am I confusing him with Eomer? I know Eomer said that when he gave Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli his permission to travel in the Mark.

      I think Faramir is a keen judge of character and "reads" people well, for the most part. Look how clear-eyed he is about his big brother. But the phrase about perceiving something clearly in Gollum's mind seems almost a little more magical/mystical. Hmm.

      Yay! I'm looking forward to your post.

    2. Yes! They both do. Though a bit differently from each other. Faramir's statement is something along the lines of, "My life will be justly forfeit" (if things turn out badly for Gondor because he let them go).

      And (you've probably already read what I wrote by now), but I did find out that, because of the blood of Westernesse, he is supposed to be able to see more clearly than most. :-)

      Did my email come through all right?

    3. Okay, good -- I wasn't imagining that, then.

      And I love what you dug up about his clear sight! I'm publishing your post now :-)

  2. Oh yes!! I hate this chapter too. I dread this part in both the movie and the book, because it totally breaks my heart. I feel so badly for both Gollum and Frodo here. I always want to stop Faramir, just let Smeagol be... he really doesn't know and he just wants to eat some fissssh and we could meet up with him away from the hideout later.

    I think Faramir is just a shrewd judge of character. I don't believe Gollum would that be hard to read for someone used to taking a man's measure.

    I love this part:
    "As he went by the cave-mouth he saw that the Curtain was now become a dazzling veil of silk and pearls and silver thread: melting icicles of moonlight."


    1. I know rules are rules and whatever, but Gollum so obviously didn't know there's was anything else going on with that place except a pool with fish... grr. Argh.

      And yeah, every description of the waterfall curtain is awesome! Like a little gift of beauty from Tolkien after all the grey blahness earlier.


What do you think?

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