Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Another LOTR Read-Along: The Tower of Cirith Ungol (ROTK 6, 1)


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.

On a rather different subject, here is something I noticed for the very first time just today. My seventh time reading this, and I'd never picked up on it before. Frodo freaks out and snatches the ring back from Sam, and is sort of "possessed" by the ring, for lack of a better term. And when his "possession" ends and he's himself again, he says, "What have I said? What have I done?" (p. 891). That is exactly what Boromir said after he tried to take the ring from Frodo, after its control over him had ended. Check it out, page 390, right at the bottom. Exactly those same eight words. Whoa.

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).

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? When we humans create things, are we actually "creating" new things of our own? Or are we taking what God made and sort of... twisting them around? Especially if we're trying to create things to please or honor ourselves, rather than to honor God? What do you think -- am I reading too much into that?

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