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?


  1. That's such an interesting question you posted! To be honest, I hadn't given it much thought and took it to mean literally what it was written. That Sauron is unable to create life, he can only twist and transform other folk to become his servants. But you might be into something. And when I read your thoughts on it, it totally reminded me of Jurassic Park (the first film of 1993) when they're discussing this dinosaur cloning gig and the mathematician Ian Malcolm says something like: 'God created dinosaurs and destroyed them, God created man and man destroyed God and created dinosaurs again and now what?' It is definitely dangerous dusiness to tey and replicate God's work ...

    1. Irene, oh, that's such a cool parallel to Jurassic Park -- I loved that part too (cuz Ian Malcolm is my fave). I forget the exact line too, but it ends with dinos eating man and ruling the earth, doesn't it? Kind of that Frankenstein warning about not trying to BE God.

    2. Yay for Ian Malcolm! He's also my favourite character! Sometimes I think that my have played a part in me studying mathematics at uni lol

    3. Irene, that's cool! Ian Malcolm totally helped me impress a friend of my parents' one day when I was a teen. Their friend was talking about Chaos Theory, and he was like, "Wait, let me explain what that is," and I was all, "Oh, I know what Chaos Theory is, it's that thing where if a butterfly flaps its wings in Australia, there's a tsunami in India or whatever." And he was like, "How in the world did you learn about Chaos Theory?" and was very impressed with my education. And then I admitted I learned about it from a movie, but hey.


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.)