And now we enter what I tend to refer to as "the boring Frodo and Sam wandering around part." Maybe 'boring' is the wrong word -- 'sleep-inducing' might be more accurate. This chapter isn't so bad, but there will come a time when I will probably fall asleep reading parts of this section. Is that a terrible thing to admit?
The first time I read The Two Towers, I barely made it through, to be honest. The second time, I'd read somewhere that if you pay attention to Sam and his character growth and arc, all this is a lot more interesting, and I tried that. It does help, and keeps me from bashing my head against a wall, at least.
And yes, I realize Tolkien is Making A Point with how long and tortuous and dull Frodo and Sam's journey is at this point, that being heroic isn't always exciting. So I slog through it dutifully. But I'm so glad that in the movies, Peter Jackson intercut the various sections so we didn't spend two hours trudging and then an hour doing the more interesting stuff.
So anyway, we have Gollum with us now, and I'll write more about him another time. Meanwhile, look how cheerful Sam is! Faced with climbing (or falling) down a steep cliff, he says lovely, heartening things like, "I suppose it's always easier getting down than up," and "Looking's better than climbing" (p. 592). Dear, dear Sam, the sturdy hobbit. It says later that, when they're climbing down using the rope, Frodo "had not quite Sam's faith," (p. 596), and I find that such a telling phrase. Sam believes wholeheartedly that they'll get where they're going, they'll succeed. He believes the rope will hold, he believes they'll find a way into Mordor, he believes they can somehow find Mount Doom.
And when they capture Gollum, although Sam doesn't trust him one bit and hates having him around, when it comes to tying Gollum with a rope, "Sam was gentler than his words" (p. 603). Doesn't that phrase warm your heart?
"I wish there was a clear path in front of us; then I'd go on till my legs gave way" (p. 598).
Possible Discussion Questions:
How do you feel about the "Frodo and Sam wandering around part" of this book?