How far we have come. More specifically, how far Samwise Gamgee has come. He began as a humble gardener, a simple hobbit, but now, thanks to his "indomitable spirit" (p. 713) and his rage over what has happened to his dear Master Frodo, he not only faces down a terrifying monster, he prevails against her with "a fury... greater than any she had known in countless years" (p. 711).
And yet, once Shelob disappears, so does Sam's sudden transformation. "Sam was left alone," (p. 713) and as he kneels beside Frodo, he says what I think are the saddest words in this whole trilogy: "Don't go where I can't follow!" (p. 713). That gets to me every time. I'm tearing up all over again as I flip through the pages to write this post.
One thing I never noticed before in this chapter, though: that Sam briefly considers trying to follow Frodo. "He looked on the bright point of the sword. He thought of the place behind where there was a black brink and an empty fall into nothingness" (p. 715). WHY did I never catch on before that, for a moment, Sam wonders if he's more an antique Roman than a hobbit? Of course, he instantly sees that "[t]here was no escape that way" (p. 715) and starts figuring out what he should do next.
And another interesting thing I never noticed before. When Sam puts on the ring, Tolkien says, "[c]ertainly the Ring had grown greatly in power as it approached the
places of its forging; but one thing it did not confer, and that was
courage" (p. 717). How interesting that having power -- even awesome, earth-shattering power -- doesn't give you courage. Power is not courage. Such a cool observation.
And... we did it! We finished The Two Towers!!! I always feel like this is the hardest one to get through, so it's all getting more fun from here on out. But, just like when we finished The Fellowship of the Ring, I'm going to take a break for about a week... and host a giveaway :-) Go here to see what the prize is and enter, if you like!
Sam did not wait to wonder what was to be done, or whether he was brave, or loyal, or filled with rage (p. 711).
"Will he?" said Sam. "you're forgetting the great big elvish warrior that's loose!" (p. 724).
Possible Discussion Questions:
When Sam learns that Frodo is still alive, he reprimands himself with this: "The trouble with you is that you never really had any hope" (p. 723). What on earth? Sam's the most hopeful character here! Does he not see that himself? What do you think this part's supposed to mean?