Saturday, June 7, 2014

LOTR Read-Along: The Tower of Cirith Ungol (ROTK Ch. 11)

Sam.  Oh, Sam.  Loyal, brave, wonderful Sam.

I've got "aww" written in the sidebar from the second time I read this (first time I underlined or made notes, back in 2005), right where Sam "no longer had any doubt about his duty:  he must rescue his master or perish in the attempt."  Sam tells himself, "The perishing is more likely, and will be a lot easier anyway" (p. 878), and doesn't that say so much about him?  He figures he's going to die, but he's going to try anyway, and while he's at it, he's going to be as cheerful as possible! 

As he prepares to enter Mordor, Sam has a moment where he figures if he does, "[h]e could never come back" (p. 878).  That one little line really makes me think of the very end of the book.  And that, to me, is Sam's bravest moment -- he believes he'll never get home again if he makes one step into Mordor, and he does it anyway.  He gives up all hope of going home in order to save Frodo.  

My favorite moment of this chapter is when Sam gets inside the stronghold and yells, "Tell Captain Shagrat that the great Elf-warrior has called, with his elf-sword too!" (p. 882).  Even in great peril, he still has his sense of humor.

Favorite Lines:

He was in a land of darkness where the days of the world seemed forgotten, and where all who entered were forgotten too (p. 878).

"The whole thing is quite hopeless, so it's no good worrying about tomorrow.  It probably won't come" (p. 893).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Frodo talks to Sam about the orcs, and says:  "[t]he Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make:  not real new things of its own.  I don't think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them" (p. 893).  What do you think of that, and how it might apply to the creative process?  I feel like there's something really wise to be gleaned here, but I'm not quite sure what.

Anybody want to write a guest post about Sam?  I'll be posting one about Frodo in a day or so (thank you, Heidi!), as soon as I get a chance to add pictures to it, but I'd really like to have one about Sam too.  If I get no volunteers, I'll do it myself :-)


  1. Oooooh! I LOVE this chapter. Welll...I DON'T enjoy all the cliffhangers that it leaves us on ;P, but SAM. He's SO amazing. =)
    Hmmm...I get what you mean about the creative process thing; it feels like you SHOULD gain something from it, but I can't figure out exactly what, haha.
    I can't wait for the Frodo post! ;) And I'd love to do a Sam post if I had the time--when would you need it by? =)

    1. I know what you mean -- I hate and love this chapter. Hate that we're going even deeper into Mordor and danger and doom doom doom, but love Sam. So much.

      I would probably want a Sam post fairly soon -- say after the "Mount Doom" chapter? So say next Friday? That would be awesome if you could write one!

    2. "doom doom doom"...hahaha. :D

      I can definitely get a post written by next Friday! I'm already planning it out. ;) Would you like me to email it to you, or...? I can give you my email if you like.

    3. Sure, reply to this with your email address, and I'll delete your comment as soon as I've copied your address, will that work?

  2. Ahhhh, Sam!! And the Sam-ish wonderfulness just gets better and better from here on out... :-)

    I guess I've mostly thought about that discussion quote in terms of God and Satan--where sometimes we tend to think of them as being (or at least, of having been) direct opposites in power. But they aren't. There is only one Omniscient Originator of life and any other power (fighting against Him) has to be using and twisting what He gave. (It's getting late, so I'm not sure if that came out clearly...but that's my general idea.)

    1. That does make sense!

      I just had an illustration fall into my lap that might make what I was thinking of more coherent. Someone left a comment on an old blog post of mine that invited me to read their Jane Austen-oriented blog. So I did, and swiftly regretted doing so. They had the most twisted, illogical, often disgusting theories about things going on in Austen's novels. They took someone else's beautiful creation and warped it. Why, I'm not sure -- to get attention? Whatever. Anyway, it made me think of this, that they themselves couldn't create lovely things, so they felt the need to ruin other people's lovely things.

      If that makes any sense at all -- it's getting late here too now :-)

    2. Oh, yes, I see what you mean... Good point!


What do you think?

Comments on old posts are always welcome! Posts older than 7 days are on moderation to dissuade spambots, so if your comment doesn't show up right away, don't worry -- it will once I approve it.

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)