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Week 15 - The Taming of Sméagol, The Passage of the Marshes, & The Black Gate is Closed

Discussion in 'Bookclub' started by Nazgoose, Jun 20, 2022.

  1. Nazgoose

    Nazgoose The Honky-tonk ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter DLP Gold Supporter

    Mar 16, 2011
    High Score:
    How the student has surpassed the master @Shouldabeenadog ! The thread post is mine this time!

    Chapter 1: The Taming of Sméagol

    • The rope is another great example of the magical nature of elvish works. It's not that the rope has the specific properties of maybe glowing in the dark, and maybe giving courage, and definitely untying itself when called, but that it is a good rope and good ropes are very helpful in a variety of subtle ways.
    • Hmm I think this is our first time seeing Gollum in-text. He's such a pitiful creep.
    • Huh, we get a pretty explicit flashback, with Frodo hearing his convo with Gandalf "quite plainly but far off".
    • Hmm, I wonder if the rope did go so far as to burn Gollum, if he made it up, or if he's so far gone that anything inherently 'good' in the way the works of elves are is harmful to him through no intent of the makers.
    • The promise is much more dramatic and full of narrative weight than in the movie. There's a lot of subtle magic in the books that didn't really make it into the big screen, and this feels like it went with them.
    Chapter 2: The Passage of the Marshes
    • The lembas also repulsing him makes me lean towards the explanation of there being enough corruption in him that things crafted with good in them somehow repel him through no explicit intent
    • Gollum is ridiculously good at finding his way. It's left abundantly clear that the path he's following is invisible to Sam. I wonder how much is talent/skill and how much is that the bearing the Ring for so long left marks on him, similar to how Frodo can see in the dark.
    • Frodo's description of the Eye is intense. The 'awareness'/will it represents grows the closer he gets to it, and even though Sauron doesn't know where the Ring is, the closeness makes hiding from it harder somehow, as if the passive perception it has is greater and greater.
    • Sméagol decides to kill the Hobbits pretty quickly lol, he's a lot more sympathetic in the movies
    Chapter 3: The Black Gate is Closed
    • Hmm there's something interesting about the entrance to Mordor being guarded by towers built by the Men of Gondor to keep watch on it, up until they abandoned them and they were turned to evil use by Sauron. Was there just nothing there before Sauron was cast down? Did they destroy his original fortifications and raise their own?
    • The treacherous nature of the Ring and how it will not like having a promise on it being broken is brought up a lot more here than in the movie.
    • Hmm we're told Aragorn and Gandalf know something of Cirith Ungol. Can't say I remember the way being known at all, tho if any two would it would be them. I do wonder what Gandalf's plan would've been had he not fallen in Moria. But without him, Rohan falls and with it Gondor. So this whatever plan he had this really is the only way they could've won.
    • We're also given our first certain timeline connection, with Gandalf confronting Saruman as Frodo and co stare at the Black Gate.

    Overall, I was honestly scared the Frodo/Sam journey would struggle to hold my interest the way the rest did, but I got sucked in quickly enough and the three chapters passed quickly enough I almost started a fourth one.

    @Irene you better be catching up or you'll owe me more food. That seems a suitable punishment. Each extra week you don't catch up is another meal you owe me for losing quite so badly :p
  2. LostInThought

    LostInThought First Year

    Sep 10, 2011
    I was looking forward to seeing Sam and Frodo again. These chapters managed to hold my interest in a way the books have not done before: Where I often could not even read a single chapter without pausing before, I read this part in a single sitting.

    I did not take many notes, though.
    • The whole section is very creepy: Gollum, on the rocks like some lizard, rotating his head. The swamps with the lights and corpses. The oppressive feeling.
    • I'm worrying about Frodo who keeps falling back. I was afraid he would get lost.
    • I thought the story about the towers to be quite tragic.
    • Frodo is very brave. It's impressive how he deals with Gollum.
    • The gaffer's 'wisdoms' Sam keeps bringing up add some much-needed light humor.
    You keep pointing out these tidbits about how 'magic' is portrayed in LotR. I like it!