Mark Reads ‘The Two Towers’: Book 2, Chapter 10

In the tenth and final chapter of The Two Towers, everything is immensely fucked up. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.



Frodo was lying face upward on the ground and the monster was bending over him, so intent upon her victim that she took no heed of Sam and his cries, until he was close at hand.


As if Samwise knew this, he bravely and courageously goes after Shelob without the slightest hesitation, and I just love it, okay? I don’t need to justify my endless adoration for this character, and you cannot make me. I understand that here, Sam is in a panic. But I’d argue that his panic needs something at its base to even exist, and I’d also say that Sam’s love for Frodo is what causes this. I don’t think Tolkien is necessarily even exaggerating for effect when he writes that there was no “onslaught more fierce ever seen.” I think it’s the truth, and that Sam fighting against an impossibly gigantic creature is the fiercest onslaught in all of Middle-earth.

I was not surprised, then, that Sam’s attack proved only temporarily successful, and when the gash he gave Shelob started spewing poison, I suddenly realized that Sam could die. So when she attacked him, I sort of panicked myself. Like, I legit believed that he could have died right in this scene. That’s a scary thing to realize in a work of fiction, isn’t it? Thankfully, Sam’s quick thinking means he turns the elven-blade up right before Shelob tries to use her body to squish him, and she ends up piercing herself in the process. SHE DID ALL THE WORK FOR HIM.

And then Tolkien has to write this:

Even as Sam himself crouched, looking at her, seeing his death in her eyes…

Again, for like a full five seconds, I thought this meant he was dying, that perhaps the poison that spilled out of her had got inside of him. But then I re-read the sentence and understood what Tolkien was trying to say here: Sam was about to die. I must admit that I read the entire scene with the Phial of Galadriel in utter shock. It’s just so awe-inspiring. It’s a massive, courageous, and momentous twist to this battle, and one that makes me so damn proud of Samwise the hobbit, who hundreds of pages ago was terrified by elves. And now he just seriously harmed a giant spider!

‘Now come, you filth!’ he cried. ‘You’ve hurt my master, you brute, and you’ll pay for it. We’re going on; but we’ll settle with you first. Come on, and taste it again!’

SERIOUSLY. SERIOUSLY. Team Sam Gamgee, right? Fuck everyone else, this dude is the best.

‘Master, dear master,’ he said, but Frodo did not speak. As he had run forward, eager, rejoicing to be free, Shelob with hideous speed had come behind and with one swift stroke had stung him in the neck. He lay now pale, and heard no voice, and did not move.

No. Oh, no. Nope. Tolkien, no. This isn’t happening.

Then as quickly as he could he cut away the binding cords and laid his head upon Frodo’s breast and to his mouth, but no stir of life could he find, nor feel the faintest flutter of the heart.


And suddenly he saw that he was in the picture that was revealed to him in the mirror of Galadriel in Lórien: Frodo with a pale face lying fast asleep under a great dark cliff. Or fast asleep he had thought then. ‘He’s dead!’ he said. ‘Not asleep, dead!’


And then black despair came down on him, and Sam bowed to the ground, and drew his grey hood over his head, and night came into his heart, and he knew no more.

Y’all, I just can’t. This isn’t happening. Tolkien, you just can’t. Isn’t there some sort of international law against this? DID YOU REALLY JUST KILL OFF THE MAIN CHARACTER? oh my god i am so fucking upset right now. I want you all to know that when I read this for the first time, I just put my head down on my desk and didn’t move it for thirty seconds. I was furious with this development. I was embarrassed that I pushed so hard to accept Gollum as being trustworthy and talking as if his story was clearly one of redemption. And I was just FUCKED UP that Frodo died BEFORE HE EVEN GOT TO THE THIRD “BOOK.” WHAT THE FUCK?!!?!?!?!

But, like most things I’ve ever read that have upset me on a visceral level (A Storm of Swords, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Mercy Among The Children are all contenders for “The Book That Destroyed Mark The Most”), I had to keep going. As distressed as I was, there was more story to tell. Sam, while exhausted, wasn’t actually dead himself.

But what do you do after something like this? His whole purpose for coming on this journey was to help Frodo destroy the Ring, and now Frodo is dead. Yet it is in that very reality that Sam realizes there’s some form of hope. As the chapter implies, there’s a choice to be made, and Sam knows he has one left: he can keep going himself. He can see the mission through. Well, he can also do this:

Then at last he began to weep; and going to Frodo he composed his body, and folded his cold hands upon his breast, and wrapped his cloak about him; and he laid his own sword at one side, and the staff that Faramir had given at the other.

No, I’ll be fine, just fine, y’all. This doesn’t make me sad. I don’t want to cry. No. Not at all.

It’s here that Sam is faced with the enormity of what he’s about to do. He knows it’s going to be awful for him to take the Ring off Frodo, to leave his friend’s body behind, and venture out into the unknown (literally!) entirely alone. I honestly think that was the worst part about this. Sam is alone. Oh my god, if Gimli and Legolas, or Merry and Pippin get separated, I will not be okay. At all. I’M ALREADY NOT OKAY. For now, though, I’m saddened by the scene where Sam takes the Ring from Frodo and puts it around his own neck. I know that it’s heavy because of the proximity to its creator, but there’s a stark subtext to this: Sam is now carrying Frodo’s burden, and that weighs him down. He stumbles away with the knowledge that he may never see Frodo’s body again. It’s just so sad to me, but I also felt this bizarre swell of pride, like Sam was my son or something and I was just so happy that he was doing what he thought was right.

This moment is just so raw and important for Sam’s characterization, so of course, Tolkien immediately brings in a new element that he has to deal with: Orcs. Sam hears them in the passageway all around him, and I guessed that he was going to get captured, and that’s how he’d find his way into Mordor. It was a bad guess, admittedly.

The Ring. He was not aware of any thought or decision. He simply found himself drawing out the chain and taking the Ring in his hand. The head of the orc-company appeared in the Cleft right before him. Then he put it on.

I can’t. I can’t deal with this book anymore. I can’t believe this is all happening in the same chapter. Frodo is dead, and Sam just put on the Ring. Help me, what the fuck is going on?

For real, I just adore what Tolkien does here when Sam puts on the Ring. Frodo never wore it for that long, so it’s a unique chance for Tolkien to explain more about what the experience is like. It’s such a weird idea that one is invisible but feels innately visible because the Eye is searching for you. But FUCK, I never would have guessed in a million years that Sam would wear the Ring. WHAT IS HAPPENING???

I actually think the best part of this, though, is Gorbag and Shagrat. Look, I’m sorry if I’m ruining this, but this whole scene is like listening to Orcs gossip. I had an idea to turn their conversation into some massive re-write of Mean Girls, but I really wanted to focus on so many other things in this chapter that didn’t deal with these two Orcs. I adore the fact that we get yet another chance to learn more about Orc culture because it helps me see them as more than one-dimensional creatures. They have such a fascinating way of talking. They use short, direct sentences and don’t have a particularly flowery vernacular. We see more of the idea that different tribes of Orcs (Is “tribes” the right word?) still can’t really get along, either. Even later in the chapter, there’s a conversation about the Orcs moving and acting separate of the Dark Lord. That’s also interesting to me because what the hell do Orcs do normally? I guess I don’t know that much about their history. Well, the Orc-men were created specifically by Sauron, so it’s not like they have much of a history. But do they seriously just act miserable all the time?

Sam, however, knows that he’s got a predicament on his hands: the Orcs have discovered the body of Frodo. Seriously, I can’t love Sam anymore that I do right now. He chooses to ignore the mission given to him by the Council of Elrond and stick with his master. Because he is the best character ever. All I want in life is my own Samwise Gamgee, IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK. Unfortunately, the Orcs get to Frodo’s body before he does, and everything is just fucked up. What are they going to do with Frodo’s body??? Sauron will realize that Frodo doesn’t have the Ring, and then what? Hopefully, Sam won’t be found out by that point. But this crisis wasn’t ever going to be easy for him! Even though he’s invisible, the Orcs still know these tunnels better than he does. This includes knowing how to get through this strange stone block that sits in one specific passageway and keeps Sam from following them any further. Frustrated, all Sam can do is just listen to the conversation a few Orcs are having on the other side.

It’s from this that Sam learns that he, Gollum, and Frodo were spotted before on the Stairs, and that the Dark Lord is currently looking for them. I think Tolkien really succeeds at creating this sense of paranoia on behalf of the antagonists with this conversation, too, because the warning about “spies” shows us how uneasy the Orcs are with what’s happening. They’re sort of left in the dark about a lot more things than I expected, and that also includes Shelob. The Orcs are aware of the “agreement” that Sauron has with the giant spider, but don’t seem to know much of what goes on inside Shelob’s lair. They do guess that some sort of “large warrior” is loose, since they saw signs that Shelob had been injured. OH SHAGRAT AND GORBAT, YOU HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA. Oh my god, I am just so proud of Sam.

And then it happens. They discuss what to do with Frodo’s body, and Gorbag thinks it’s pretty useless to bring Lugbúrz a corpse.

‘You fool,’ snarled Shagrat. ‘You’ve been talking very clever, but there’s a lot you don’t know, though most other folk do. You’ll be for the pot or for Shelob, if you don’t take care. Carrion! Is that all you know of Her Ladyship? When she binds with cords, she’s after meat. She doesn’t eat dead meat, not suck cold blood. This fellow isn’t dead!’







OH. MY. SWEET. SUMMER. CHILD. FRODO ISN’T DEAD!!!!! oh my a;lkgj;a a;skdfj sdfa;kslfdsj. Wait, first of all, FUCK YOU, TOLKIEN. Oh my god, quit playing games with my heart. I WAS SO UPSET AND YOU TRICKED ME. But that’s ultimately fine because Frodo isn’t dead, so SWEET. AWESOME. EVERYTHING RULES.

Well, okay. It doesn’t. Frodo is still in the hands of the Orcs, and Sam, figuring out that the block is actually a door, continues to follow them. I want to celebrate the fact that I properly guessed that The Two Towers would end on a cliffhanger, but I feel awful being joyous about a horrific end to this book: Sam is separated from his friend by a giant set of doors he cannot pass through. I mean, I expected something of this nature, but this end was so much more intense than I could have ever thought.

Tomorrow, I’ll post predictions for the final book, and then we’ll move on with The Return of the King on Wednesday. HELP.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

223 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Two Towers’: Book 2, Chapter 10

  1. Becky_J_ says:

    I think I have made my feelings about Sam pretty clear over the last couple of books…. I love him, and he is one of my favorite literary characters ever. A couple of days ago, I was wondering why I was so vehement about my love of him. Yes, he has some good quotes, and he's adorable, and he's snarky. But is that really enough to explain it? Then I read this chapter, and I remembered exactly why I love him so much. In fact, this chapter is probably the moment I first knew that Sam was my favorite. A few quotes from this chapter:

    ~"Frodo, Mr Frodo!" he called. "Don't leave me here alone! It's your Sam calling. Don't go where I can't follow!"
    ~"If I'm to go on," he said, "then I must take your sword, by your leave, Mr. Frodo, but I'll put this one to lie by you, as it lay by the old king in the barrow; and you've got your beautiful mithril coat from old Mr. Bilbo. And your star-glass, Mr. Frodo, you did lend it to me and I'll need it, for I'll be always in the dark now. It's too go for me, and the Lady gave it to you, but maybe she'd understand. Do
    you understand, Mr. Frodo? I've got to go on."
    ~"Goodbye, master, my dear!" he murmered. "Forgive your Sam. He'll come back to this spot when the job's done–if he manages it. And then he'll not leave you again."
    ~"He sprang up. He flung the Quest and all his decisions away, and fear and doubt with them. He knew now where his place was and had been: at his master's side."
    ~"I wonder if any song will ever mention it: How Samwise fell in the High Pass and made a wall of bodies round his master. No, no song. Of course not, for the Ring'll be found, and there'll be no more songs. I can't help it. My place is by Fr. Frodo."
    ~"You fool, he isn't dead, and your heart knew it. Don't trust your head, Samwise, it is not the best part of you."

    Well… there's not much I can add to that last one to express my feelings, because it's absolutely right…. Sam's heart is worth a thousand strong and wise men. The love he has for Frodo… it nearly breaks me. I have read these books and seen the movies, and I STILL was sobbing at the thought of Sam kneeling over Frodo's body, begging him not to leave him alone, begging him not to go where he couldn't follow. And then he decides that since Frodo no longer can finish it, he will take the Ring to Mordor, and if he can come back, he will find Frodo again and join him in death. That is the part where I lost it and had to put the book down until the words weren't blurry anymore. I knew Frodo wasn't dead, and yet I, too, was begging him to be alive, to not leave Sam alone, because Sam's entire existence depends on Frodo. He has no meaning to his life without Frodo.

    I wrote a comment in the very beginning of this series about how there are friends, and then there are best friends…. I now amend that statement to say this: There are friends, and then there are best friends….. and then there is Sam.

  2. Becky_J_ says:

    I obviously used my gifspam too early…. because YOU GUYS WHAT THE FUCK.

    Like I've said before, I've freaking READ these books before, and I KNOW Frodo isn't dead, and I STILL flip out! Tolkien does such a good job of making you think he's dead…. it's been a while since I've read this, and I figured he would reveal it within a page or two. But no. He keeps it going for PAGES AND PAGES AND PAGES. I was actually beginning to wonder if he was going to wait until the next book to reveal that Frodo was alive. CAN YOU IMAGINE having to wait for the next book if that was the case???

    And yet, in his usual Tolkien fashion, he reveals that Frodo isn't dead and everything SHOULD be happy and AWESOME but Frodo's body is taken by orcs and Sam is left on the other side of a closed door and EVERYTHING IS AWFUL. how do you turn the happiest moments into the worst ones, Tolkien????

    Naq yrg'f whfg gnyx nobhg guvf sbe n frpbaq…. jr qba'g erghea gb Fnz naq Sebqb ntnva hagvy OBBX FVK. Gung'f ng YRNFG n pbhcyr bs uhaqerq cntrf…. V jbhyq fnl cbbe Znex, ohg vg vf tbvat gb or FB RAGREGNVAVAT. Jung n pyvssunatre. V erzrzore gur svefg gvzr V ernq guvf, V fxvccrq nurnq whfg gb svaq bhg ubj gurl tbg bhg bs guvf zrff, naq gura jrag onpx gb ernq gur ortvaavat bs EBGX. V jbaqre ubj ybat vg jvyy gnxr Znex gb ernyvmr gung jr jba'g frr gurz hagvy gur arkg obbx…..


    • flootzavut says:

      ++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start.
      Mr. Jelly! Mr. Jelly! Error at Address Number 6, Treacle Mine Road.
      Melon melon melon
      +++Wahhhhhhh! Mine!+++
      +++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++
      +++Whoops! Here comes the cheese! +++

    • Spinnaker12 says:

      Gurer'f nyfb gur Zbhgu bs Fnheba va Obbx Svir naq jr fubhyq nyy cercner bhefryirf sbe Znex gb gubebhtuyl syvc gur shpx bhg. Fgnegvat ubneqvat gubfr BU FUVVVVVV- naq raqyrff-grnef TVSf.

    • vermillioncity says:

      CAN YOU IMAGINE having to wait for the next book if that was the case???

      The first time I ever read this I had to stop MIDWAY THROUGH THE CHAPTER because I had to go to school (yes, I got up early in the mornings just to read, no hate) AND I THOUGHT FRODO WAS DEAD. I WAS IN SHOCK. I 100% fell for it that Tolkien had killed off the main character and Sam was taking over as ring-bearer for Return of the King.

      Actually, even now, I'd sort of love it if that had been the case. I adore Frodo, but that would've been some impossibly fierce writing. I've always wanted to kill my main character before the climax scene; still holding onto that idea…

      • Becky_J_ says:

        Oh, I feel so bad for past you!! He seriously does such a convincing job that, even though I knew he was alive, I thought he was dead for a split second!!! That would be the hardest day of school EVER.

        It would seriously take some great guts to kill off your main character… I know some authors have done it, but it would be soooo difficult to do. You spend all that time making them, and then BAM. It's like losing a friend!!

        And the thought of Sam alone in Mordor, still grieving after Frodo, just plodding one foot in front of the other so he can get this done with and get back to Frodo and join him in death…. it's SERIOUSLY ONE OF THE MOST DEPRESSING THOUGHTS EVER. No one to talk to, no one to sleep next to, no one….. NO. I WILL NOT DWELL ON THIS AWFUL AWFUL THOUGHT.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      Re your rot13 – V xabj, vfa'g vg terng? V nz n ubeevoyr ubeevoyr crefba, ohg fgvyy…

      <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

      • flootzavut says:

        Eeeeek, every time I see that gif, because it's so subtle, it takes me a moment to realise it's a gif and it FREAKS ME OUT because it's just too subtle and rather evil… YIKES!

  3. knut_knut says:


    <img src=""&gt;


    <img src=""&gt;

    YOU ARE THE ORIGINAL TROLL!! I can't imagine having to wait a year for the last book after this cliffhanger. PURE TORTURE. Naq gur orfg cneg vf Fnz/Sebqb'f cneg va EbGX vf ng gur raq. GBYXVRRRRRRRA

  4. Dreamflower says:

    Well, Mark, you were definitely prepared for one thing: You said TT would end with a monstrous cliffhanger, and you were right!

    You know, I still feel somewhat aggrieved after all these years that I had to wait several days to get hold of Return of the King; it was checked out from the library and I had to wait to get it. I was on pins and needles after that cliffie!

    And yet think of the poor folks back when the books first came out! FotR came out in July of 1954, and TT came out November of 1954. But for a number of technical reasons, RotK was not released until OCTOBER OF 1955! Almost a YEAR later!

    This led to a very amusing exchange of letters between JRRT and his publisher:

    11 September 1955

    When is Vol. III likely now to appear? I shall be murdered if something does not happen soon.

    • knut_knut says:

      HAHAHA is that really something Tolkien wrote? <3 Yea, I'm glad when I didn't have to experience that wait.

      • Dreamflower says:

        Yes, it really is, it's Letter #170. His letters are a treasure trove, but I have to say, that one is one of my favorites.

        I can just see him being stalked by desperate readers trying to find out what happened!

    • That's wonderful. Oh my gosh, I would definitely have been one of those people. It's kind of hilarious to know that rabid fans aren't unique to our generation of internet rage…

      • ferriswheeljunky says:

        For some reason I utterly love the idea of Ye Olde Fandoms. Like all the Victorians who went around with black armbands when ACD killed off Sherlock Holmes? It's just hilarious to me.

        • Ryan Lohner says:

          And perhaps the first real case of Die For Our Ship over Jo and Laurie in Little Women, prompting Alcott to write "I will not marry Jo to Laurie to please ANYONE."

          • stefb4 says:

            I will say now that, even though I've seen multiple movie versions before I read the book two years ago, I STILL teared up when I read Jo rejecting Laurie. I wanted to hold Laurie forever.

            Actually, it's amazing the book made me weep in three separate spots.

          • ferriswheeljunky says:

            I hope there were groups of rabid 19th century fangirls who got together and swapped fanfics under cover of their cross-stitching. (Though I must confess I always hated Little Women…)

      • Dreamflower says:

        What’s kind of cool is that up until his later years, he personally answered his fanmail. While some of them appeared in print in Letters, others did not. I personally know someone who got a letter from him when she was only ten, after she wrote and asked him a question about Zreel’f fba. He kind of quit doing that after his wife’s death in ’71 and his own health began to go downhill.

        But he never understood why some people were such rabid fans; while he loved his own books he did not realize just how much others did. He honestly never expected LotR to be such a big hit. It puzzled and disturbed him, and he thought the way some fans behaved was a “deplorable cult”. He really was not used to the sort of attention that came his way when the book began to explode in popularity after the American paperback editions came out in the mid-60s.

        • fantasy_fan says:

          I still wish I had sent him the letter I wrote when I was thirteen in (mumble mumble the seventies). Whether he answered it or not, whether he understood why or not, i would have liked to have told him how much his story touched something deep inside me. And if it were somehow possible, how much it continues to affect me all these years later.

          • BetB says:

            Well, then we are nearly the same age since I read them first when I was 11 (mumble mumble seventies). A great story knows no age boundaries (or any others, for that matter).

            • BetB says:

              I meant to say also, that I wish I'd known that he read his fan mail because I would have written him a letter. These books were the start of a long loving relationship with books. Tolkien is the person who opened the door to other worlds when my world was something I wanted to get away from. I was fortunate to have a teacher who read us "The Hobbit" after lunch and another friend who turned me on the the books.

              I only had to save money to buy the paperbacks. My mom bought me a copy of the Silmarillion when it first came out so it is likely a first edition. Ah, memories….

        • arctic_hare says:

          Ciphered part of your comment because Znex qbrfa'g xabj lrg gung Zreel jvyy fheivir naq unir n xvq.

    • GamgeeFest says:

      At least they didn't have to wait 4 years, or however long it was for the last HP book. I had bought the trilogy after the first movie came out, so I went straight on to ROTK after this chapter and read the whole thing in one day. It's that good, y'all!

      • @geoffmarsh says:

        Four years is chump change, compared to ASOIF fans. I'm lucky I got into the books last year, so I didn't have to wait that long for a Dance With Dragons. The wait for the last two books is gonna be a bitch…

        • Dreamflower says:

          And don't forget poor Wheel of Time readers, 12 books in, no closer to a resolution, the original author dead…

          But by book 8 I was totally losing interest anyway.

          • Ryan Lohner says:

            I still say Ice and Fire wins. Jordan left behind copious notes and requested that his wife find another author to finish the series in his will. Martin has put in his will that if he dies before finishing the series, everything will be burned unread, Kafka style. We can only hope it turns out the same way as for Kafka.

          • Weston says:

            The good news, Brandon Sanderson has been doing a fantastic job of wrapping up the various dangling threads that Jordan left unwoven.

            • Dreamflower says:

              Oh, good heavens, the poor man! That was a LOT of unwoven thread dangling all OVER the place! Perhaps if he gets it finished I might give it another go.

              • LongStrider says:

                Current release date for the final WoT book is Jan 2013 (though they are saying that isn't entirely firm yet and could easily, for just procedural reasons, be pushed back weeks or months)

            • Kiryn says:

              Eh…for most of the characters, I'll give him. But I don't feel that Sanderson writes Mat well at all. Which is unfortunate for me, because Mat's my favorite character. TOM is better in this regard than TGS, but, still…Sanderson does do an awesome job with Rand, though, especially in TGS. Which, I guess Rand's more important to get right than Mat…still, though.

        • monkeybutter says:

          Please don't use the word "bitch" on this site.

  5. flootzavut says:

    Oh Mark. There has been much ROT13 flailing about this chapter, and this cliffhanger.

    I think Tolkien's willingness to damage or kill off characters makes the reader believe that it's actually possible Sam might die when Shelob is going for him…

  6. cait0716 says:

    In the fight between Sam and Shelob, Shelob is basically Captain Hammer in my mind. "Is this what pain feels like?"

    I don't know, this book has been so bleak for so long that it came out the other side as a bit absurd. Does this happen to anyone else? Things get so depressing or so scary that it stops being that and starts being funny instead?

    • drekfletch says:

      I have is similar response to suspense. I get bored. There's only so long I can go "whatsgonnahappen, whatsgonnahappen, whatsgonnahappen. Ok. I don't care anymore."

  7. Alice says:

    Sam's fight with Shelob is the most intense ever!Everytime I read it, it keeps me on edge.And the fact that he speaks suddenly in elvish is yet another proof that other powers are at work too,and that not only evil prevails.My creyes… srsly…Sam's tearfull pleading with Frodo, not to go where he cannot follow, gets me everytime!…And,ofc the book ends on a cliffhanger.

    <img src=""width="600"&gt;
    John Howe – Shelob and Sam

    <img src="'araignee%20et%20Sam%20(2).jpg"width="600">
    Tim Hildebrandt – Sam and Shelob

    <img src=""width="600"&gt;
    John Howe – Shelo's Lair (heheh…look who's lurking)

    <img src=""width="600"&gt;
    Roger Garland – Shelob (it seems like this pic came from a hippie's mind with such vivid colours 😀 )

    <img src=""width="600"&gt;
    Ted Nasmithd – Shelob

    <img src=""width="600"&gt;
    Ted Nasmith – Shelob's Retreat

    <img src=""width="600"&gt;
    Ted Nasmith – Sam enters Mordor alone

    <img src=""width="600"&gt;
    Hildebrandt Bros – Cirith Ungol (and that's the cover of my TTT book :p)

    <img src=""width="600"&gt;
    Alan Lee – Shagrat and Gorbag

    <img src=""&gt;
    John Howe – Gorbag

    <img src""&gt;
    John Howe – Shagrat


  9. Sarah TX says:

    SEBQB YVIRF! That is all.

    Mark is SO UNPREPARED for the last book. This is going to be fun.

  10. Jenny_M says:


    The only thing that might have made it better is if Tolkien got truly trolls-y and let us believe that Frodo was dead into the next book. THAT would have been unbearable.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Jryy, gur arkg gvzr jr urne nalguvat bs Sebqb vf jura gur Zbhgu bs Fnheba fnlf ur'f qrnq…

      • julianamoreli says:

        Zl urneg whfg fnax jura V ernq guvf ovg. Orpnhfr, qrrc qbja va lbhe urneg, lbh nyjnlf ubcr gung va gur raq rirelguvat jvyy or bx. Naq gura **ONZ** zvguevy znvy pbng…

        V jnf fb qvfnccbvagrq va gur pvarzn jura guvf cneg qvqa'g znqr gb gur svany phg…ohg V haqrefgnaq gung vg qvqa'g znqr zhpu frafr bapr gung jr, gur ivrjref, nyernql xarj gung gurl jrer nyvir. Ohg Zbhgu bs Fnheba jnf cerggl pbby va gur zbivr…fb cbyvgr…ovt fzvyr…ybybyby

  11. flootzavut says:

    "I had an idea to turn their conversation into some massive re-write of Mean Girls, but I really wanted to focus on so many other things in this chapter that didn’t deal with these two Orcs."

    Please do this sometime. Please. This needs to happen.

    "All I want in life is my own Samwise Gamgee, IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK."

    Agree so much. Hobbit clones cannot come soon enough.

    Your reaction to Tolkien's Frodo live fakeout was perfect 😀 *evil*

    • JustMalyn says:

      Everyone needs a hobbit buddy 🙂 The world would be a much more peaceful and AWESOME place.

      • flootzavut says:

        Yup. Unfortunately, the only person we could think of who would be clever enough to clone Hobbits is Sheldon Cooper…

        • GamgeeFest says:

          Sheldon would do it. He made fish night lights and was willing to clone Leonard Nimoy. I wouldn't be surprised if he discovered Leonard still has the One Ring and took it back.

          Chuck Lorre – you must have Sheldon clone Hobbits. This needs to happen!

          • Becky_J_ says:

            If this ever happens, I will die.

            I will watch the episode, stare at the screen for a while in disbelief, and then fall over dead.


          • JustMalyn says:

            He DEFINITELY would. I HAVE LEONARD NIMOY'S DNA. Oh gosh. I love so much when multiple nerdy awesome things come together on this site.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      I know, we really need to figure out the logistics of Hobbit cloning.

  12. rthstewart says:

    "Frodo was alive but taken by the Enemy." perhaps the best cliff hanger ever in literature.

  13. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Who else wants a spin-off book with just Gorbag and Shagrat wandering Middle Earth being sassy?

    Seriously, I totally forgot about these two and re-reading this chapter I just love their conversation so much.

    • Katarina_H says:

      I do! They're massively entertaining, and I love that even Sauron's servants don't think much of him. Of course, the fact that they're called "Gorbag" and "Shagrat" might have something to do with their disdain. "The Dark Lord brings us forth as misshapen mutants detested by all honest folks, make us work all day, and gives us names that sound like a British schoolboy's insults. FML."

      Seriously, Shagrat may be the worst name in history. I mean, I'm sure it's meant to be pronounced Shaa-grat or something, and Tolkien probably has some Orcish explanation for it, or that at the very least he was thinking "shaggy" rather than "shagged", but… it's REALLY HARD not to read it as "rat meant for shagging."

      • Dreamflower says:

        Eeewww…gross! *reaches for brain bleach*

        Poor guy! I had never thought of that before, and now I will never avoid thinking it, LOL!

        Of course, it's just another unfortunate coincidence, like Celeborn's Quenya name being "Teleporno". I am sure that JRRT was sadly unaware of some modern slang. He seemed to have led a rather sheltered life except for his wartime army stint.

        • Katarina_H says:

          I hadn't thought of it earlier either, because when I first read the books I was too young to know any British slang at all. But now I couldn't help it. Not that Gorbag is much better, if pronounced "gore bag".

          And poor Celeborn!

      • stormwreath says:

        Or 'person who shags rats'.

        (Are there rats in Mordor?)

        ("No, because they very sensibly ran away from the Orcs…")

    • redheadedgirl says:

      "Shagrat, stop trying to make fetch happen! It's NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN."

    • Skyweir says:


      I love those two, but the implications of their talk is of course also rather nasty.
      It is clear that the Orcs do not especially enjoy their "employ" in the armies of Saruon, as they talk wistfully about setting up somewhere else. They are also afraid of informers in their own ranks and speak with fear about the Nazgul, Shelob and Lugburz (Barad-dur). Of course, as they rightly point out here, if Sauron is defeated they would be in no better situation, since the Enemy (i.e. the elves and Men) hate them and would have little mercy for them. Their best hope is for Sauron to win, and then to be able to leave his army into the lands that will no longer be closed to them. Recall that the Rohirrim and the elves kill Orcs on sight. But of course, this freedom seems unlikely to happen even if Sauron wins.

      So, really, the Orcs are in a bad way regardless of who wins the war. And this should be acknowledge more by the main characters, I feel. It is easy for people like Aragorn, Frodo or even Gandalf to speak about Orcs like they are vermin, but non of them grew up in a pit in Mordor, surrounded by informers and Nazgul, while every other species in the world wants to kill you on sight so there is literary no place you can escape to. I like to see any of them coming out much better than Shagrat.

      This discussion should also put to rest the idea that Orcs have no free will, since they clearly have hopes, dreams and even a desire to betray Sauron if possible, even though they fear him to much to try. They are filled by anger, fear, hate and pain, but they are capable of making free choices. Why else would Sauron need a draconian system of informers and threats to keep them in line?

  14. LadyViridis says:

    I'm just shocked you didn't end the review with what might be the best cliffhanger line ever. I don't have my book with me so I can't quote it, but I know it's something like "Frodo was alive, but in the hands of the Enemy."

    Well. It's certainly a contender. "There is no District 12" is also up there for me.

    Naq gung vf jul V unir arire znantrq gb ernq EbgX va nal fbeg bs cebcre beqre hagvy guvf zbfg erprag erernq. Gur svefg ernq rfcrpvnyyl, gubhtu. V vzzrqvngryl tenoorq gur guveq obbx naq syvccrq guebhtu hagvy V sbhaq bhg jung unccrarq gb Sebqb.

    Also, how badass is Samwise Gamgee? SO INCREDIBLY BADASS. <3 <3 <3 All the love for Sam, he's absolutely incredible. I love the orcs' assumption that whatever injured Shelob must have been some big Elvish warrior. NOPE HOBBITS ARE JUST THAT AWESOME.

    I need to go home and grab my book so I can reread this whole section again. It's just too awesome.

    • GamgeeFest says:

      Naq gurl pbagvahr gb oryvrir Fnz vf n ovt, onq Ryivfu jneevbe nyy guebhtu gur Pvevgu Hatby puncgre. Fnz ehyrf!

      • LadyViridis says:

        Crefbanyyl zl snibevgr vf jura gur Evat gevrf gb grzcg uvz naq nyy ur pna guvax bs vf raqyrff tneqraf pbirevat gur jbeyq. Lbh pna cenpgvpnyyl urne gur Evat guvaxvat "V bssre lbh hayvzvgrq cbjre naq lbh jnag TNEQRAF? Htu, uboovgf! Jul pna'g V trg n avpr pbeehcgnoyr uhzna be ng yrnfg n zheqrevat uboovg yvxr gur byq qnlf? ):<"

        • GamgeeFest says:

          V nyjnlf ernq gung nf gur Evat ernyvmvat gung tneqraf ner irel vzcbegnag gb Fnz – ur vf n tneqrare naq jvfurq sbe n ovg bs tneqra bs uvf bja jnl onpx ng gur ortvaavat bs gur obbxf – naq gelvat gb grzcg uvz jvgu gur vqrn bs gheavat guvf oyrnx qrfbyngr ynaq vagb uvf bja tneqra gung ur pna ehyr nf ur pubbfrf. Jung gur Evat pbhyqa'g haqrefgnaq vf gung Fnz qbrfa'g qrfver cbjre be nhgubevgl ohg bayl gb or ol uvf znfgre'f fvqr ntnva. Gur Evat zrg vgf zngpu va Fnzjvfr Tnztrr.

      • sixth_queen says:

        Fgvat jnf na Ryivfu oynqr, fb vawhevat Furybo grpuavpnyyl JNF ryivfu jbex. Ohg ab Rys pbhyq unir erfvfgrq gur Evat yvxr Fnz qvq.

  15. "Wait, first of all, FUCK YOU, TOLKIEN. Oh my god, quit playing games with my heart."
    I'm fairly sure that that's like asking GRRM not to kill off all his characters.

    So anyway, this chapter. This is the other point at which I was reduced to a shaking wreck the first time I read these (the other was Gandalf going down. Not that there aren't others, but SPOILERS).
    Here is where you have to respect Sam (or in many cases outright fall in love with him, if you hadn't already by that point). Because everything he does here is unbelievable. First of all, he beats off Shelob, who has specifically been said to have taken down elf-warriors and great heroes. He's a hobbit, in case you forgot that over the course of his being far too awesome for words.

    There's one section in this chapter that never fails to utterly break my heart:
    When at last the blackness passed, Sam looked up and shadows were about him; but for how many minutes or hours the world had gone dragging on, he could not tell. He was still in the same place, and still his master lay beside him dead. The mountains had not crumbled, nor the earth fallen into ruin.
    I feel here as though Tolkien's just bottled the reaction to overwhelming grief- the numb feeling that the world has frozen and that surely something major must have happened, because there is simply no way that the person you knew can have died without there being some kind of correlating sorrow. It doesn't seem possible that such a thing could happen without any kind of comment and yet it has, and when you come out of your stupor, you have to go on eventually. You may not lose your grief, but you have to move past eventually, no matter how much of a betrayal it might seem. And again, I'm sure this is something Tolkien felt and knew from experience.

    The other point of note is the chapter title. Up till this point, Sam has always addressed everyone else as 'master' or 'sir,' always in respect and deference. I think here that Tolkien is telling us that he is now fully and completely on the level of everyone else he has expected and admired, even if Sam doesn't see that as the case himself. He sees it as doing his duty, but it doesn't alter the fact that it's infinitely above and beyond almost anyone's strength and courage to go on in the face of loss and utter hopelessness. Yet Sam is doing so here, and it's for that decision, for that desperate attempt to do what's right, even if it breaks his heart, that he's elevated here, both in chapter title and in narrative. It's a beautiful thing to see.

    • Becky_J_ says:

      I love the thought of Sam finally being "Master Sam." I never actually made that connection. It makes so much sense though…. it always breaks my heart to hear Sam constantly degrading himself, quoting the Gaffer or saying he's useless–because he is worth so much more than anyone could possibly realize. It's about time he knows that.

      I also love how he takes down Shelob…. she's encountered bravery, she's encountered strength, she's encountered size–but she forgot to account for the fact that she just killed his best friend, his reason for living, and he is FURIOUS. I love how it gives him this unbelievable strength and speed, and how it's as if a hurricane has hit her. She had no idea what she was getting into.

    • GamgeeFest says:

      So true about Sam's elevation here to status of "Master" – long overdue, I feel. He might never consider himself in such terms, he's too humble for that, but it's clear here that he is now of equal standing to the others in the Fellowship.

  16. *Dashes off to bawl in a corner* I'm trying to erase that line from memory, damn it! Not because I don't love it, because I do, but because it reduces me to a blubbering mess every time I read it…

  17. stormwreath says:

    People who've worn the One Ring:
    Although Orcs are evil, I get the impression Tolkien was basing a lot of their conversations on the soldiers he lived among during WW1. There's the same sense that they're the poor bloody infantry being sent to fight and die, while their commanders live the high life far away from the front line, and send them nonsensical orders to cover up their own mistakes.

  18. castlewayjay says:

    Oh gu;ys can you imagine reading this book when it first came out. coming to this cliffhanger end and having to wait, oh, at least a year til the final book was published? I would have gone mad!

    these are Sam's lines that slay me – the ones about how he'll always be int he dark now, and "don't leave me all alone…don't go where I can't follow". Though Frodo is my favorite character – not Sam – no one could read this chapter and not love Sam, that great elf-warrior.

    Oh – and Mark – Merry & Pippin are separated now, remember? Pippin's riding with Gandalf, and who knows what Merry's doing. Just another cheery thought on Cliffhanger Day.

  19. MsSmeagol says:

    "Don't go where I can't follow!" ALL THE CREYS.

    Gurfr fprarf va gur zbivr nofbyhgryl fynl zr rnpu gvzr. Svefg Fnz'f oenir punetr ba Furybo, naq gura uvz oernxvat qbja jura ur guvaxf gung Sebqb vf qrnq naq ur whfg fvgf gurer naq pevrf naq gur grnef eha qbja uvf qvegl snpr naq ur whfg ybbxf nofbyhgryl naq pbzcyrgryl oebxra naq qrwrpgrq. V jvyy ARIRE sbetvir gur Npnqrzl sbe abg tvivat Frna Nfgva na Bfpne abzvangvba sbe uvf cresbeznapr!!!

    • Katarina_H says:

      V guvax vg'f orpnhfr gurer ner gbb znal tbbq cresbeznaprf va gung zbivr, gur Npnqrzl whfg tnir hc. Fbzrbar fnvq nobhg Y.N. Pbasvqragvny gung obgu yrnqf ner fb tbbq gurl pnapry rnpu bgure bhg, naq V guvax fbzrguvat bs gung rssrpg vf ng jbex va EbgX – NJRFBZR orpbzrf gur abezny onfryvar, obgu sbe npgvat naq rirelguvat ryfr.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Yes, I certainly thought that was a really bad oversight!

    • redheadedgirl says:

      I agree. TOTALLY ROBBED. For this, and for "V pna'g pneel gur Evat, ohg V pna pneel lbh!"

    • arctic_hare says:

      V jvyy sberire or ovggre gung ab bar sebz gur zbivrf tbg na npgvat njneq, ohg Frna Nfgva abg rira trggvat abzvangrq vf bar bs gur ovttrfg fber cbvagf sbe zr.

  20. msw188 says:

    I remember when I first read this, I did not understand what was happening with these lines:
    "He looked on the bright point of the sword. He thought of the places behind where there was a black brink and an empty fall into nothingness."
    It took until the second time I read this, a little bit older, that I understood that Sam is actually contemplating suicide to 'join' with Frodo. Whereupon my heart was broken anew.

    I can't add much else to this chapter that Mark hasn't already brought up, except to say that it is definitely one of my favorites. But I also wanted to post about Saturday, and the beginning of the Intensity in Ten Cities Tour. It was a ton of fun, except maybe for WALKING BACK AND FORTH ON THE STRIP TRYING TO FIND SOMEWHERE FOR EIGHT PEOPLE TO EAT. Actually, that was kind of fun too. But anyway, Mark's a great fun guy to be around, and it's also a blast meeting a bunch of people who also visit the site (even if I felt like a fool for having to ask what BSG stands for, haha; I never visit Mark Watches – OOPS). In short, if anyone reading this is on the fence about making the effort to attend one of these, here is one more vote for MAKING IT HAPPEN.

    • GamgeeFest says:

      "He looked on the bright point of the sword. He thought of the places behind where there was a black brink and an empty fall into nothingness."

      This killed me when I read it. As if this chapter wasn't bleak enough, here we have Samwise the Stouthearted contemplating suicide to join his master in death because he just can't see the point of living without his Frodo.

      Oh Tolkien, how you destroy us all!

      • Becky_J_ says:

        Not to mention how he says that he will destroy the Ring, and then come back, find Frodo, and never leave him again…. GAH. Please stop breaking my heart, Tolkien!

    • Wheelrider says:

      Sorry I missed hanging out!

      • msw188 says:

        HOW DARE YOU MISS HANGING OUT!!! You missed an amazing spontaneous live-read of maybe the worst book EVER, but that just means you'll have to catch the man at some point in the future. (or are you saying you were at the bookstore, but missed hanging out afterwards? in that case, you missed Mark, being the person with the least knowledge of Pittsburgh, also being the one amongst the seven of us trying to help some stranger catch a bus)

  21. Marie the Bookwyrm says:

    Damn! What an emotional rollercoaster! Sam battling Shelob and chasing her off!! Sam pleading with Frodo not to be dead. (So heart wrenching.) And then he convinces himself that he HAS to take the Ring and finish the quest, because there's nobody else. So much sadness when he lays out Frodo's body, and finally leaves it. The discovery that Frodo is ALIVE!!!! And Sam's all, 'The hell with the Quest. I'm saving Frodo!' The despair of the last sentence.

    Sheesh! I've read LOTR many times, and I still get all caught up emotionally in this chapter.

  22. ARITHMANCER says:

    Movie stuff:Naq gura ur qbrf, ng gur raq bs Erghea bs gur Xvat. Va obgu gur obbxf naq gur zbivrf guvf yvar vf rdhnyyl njshy va erernqf naq erivrjvatf, orpnhfr juvyr jr xabj Sebqb vf abg qrnq va gur urer naq abj bs guvf fprar, jr nyfb xabj ur jvyy tb jurer Fnz pnaabg sbyybj…gur raq bs guvf frevrf nyjnlf fynlf zr.

  23. ARITHMANCER says:

    Abg ybat, V guvax. Ur vf n fzneg ernqre, naq gur fgehpgher bs GGG vf n ovt pyhr. Jurgure ur jvyy *yvxr* guvf, vf nabgure fgbel. *rivy teva*

  24. fantasy_fan says:

    Bu zl tbq, vs Tvzyv naq Yrtbynf, be Zreel naq Cvccva trg frcnengrq, V jvyy abg or bxnl.

    Ur qbrfa'g rira xabj vg, ohg ur'f znxvat EBGX cerqvpgvbaf n qnl rneyl.

    V thrffrq gung ur jnf tbvat gb trg pncgherq, naq gung’f ubj ur’q svaq uvf jnl vagb Zbeqbe. Vg jnf n onq thrff, nqzvggrqyl.

    Npghnyyl, vg'f dhvgr n tbbq thrff, whfg n yvggyr cerzngher. Trggvat pncgherq vf gur rnfl cneg jura lbh'er va Zbeqbe. Trggvat ha-pncgherq gnxrf n ovg bs yhpx naq fbzr dhvpx jvgf. Dhvpxre jvgf guna V jbhyq unir unq, ng gung fgntr bs gur wbhearl!

    Sebqb vfa’g qrnq, fb FJRRG. NJRFBZR. RIRELGUVAT EHYRF.
    Jryy, bxnl. Vg qbrfa’g. Sebqb vf fgvyy va gur unaqf bs gur Bepf…

    V guvax Znex'f fb eryvrirq Sebqb vfa'g qrnq ur unfa'g ernyyl gubhtug zhpu nobhg jung "va gur unaqf bs gur Bepf" vzcyvrf. Ur'yy cebonoyl trg zber areibhf nobhg vg, bu, evtug nobhg jura gur ZBHGU BS FNHEBA fubjf hc. V frevbhfyl guvax gur ragver fpurzr bs qvivqvat gur fgbel hc gur jnl Gbyxvra qvq jnf qryvorengryl gb gebyy hf nobhg jurgure Sebqb fheivirq uvf gerngzrag va gur gbjre.

    • ZeynepD says:

      V frevbhfyl guvax gur ragver fpurzr bs qvivqvat gur fgbel hc gur jnl Gbyxvra qvq jnf qryvorengryl gb gebyy hf nobhg jurgure Sebqb fheivirq uvf gerngzrag va gur gbjre.

      V nterr. Yvxrjvfr jul Nentbea naq pb.'f cnegl vf yrsg tbvat qbja gb gur fuberf bs gur frn gb svtug gur Pbefnvef naq lbh qba'g urne sebz gurz hagvy Rbzre frrf Nejra'f fgnaqneq, naq gura vg'f nyy svyyrq va n synfuonpx pbairefngvba.

      Paranthetically: Must remember not to rot13 the HTML tags. *glares at self*

      • LadyViridis says:

        Cebonoyl. Vg sehfgengrq zr orsber, ohg ba guvf erernq vg nyfb frrzf gb zr gung gur erfg bs gur Sryybjfuvc vf bss qbvat fb znal guvatf va fb znal cynprf gung gb zvk vg hc jvgu Sebqb naq Fnz'f wbhearl jbhyq trg gbb pbzcyvpngrq gb sbyybj.

        Gur gebyyvat nobhg Sebqb'f sngr jnf cebonoyl whfg n obahf. V zrna, Gbyxvra abg bayl gebyyf gur ernqre, ur gebyyf uvf bja punenpgref jvgu gur jubyr Zbhgu bs Fnheba fprar. Oernxf zl urneg rirel gvzr.

        Ohg sbeghangryl rirelguvat pbzrf bhg zbfgyl bxnl va gur raq!

  25. Suzannezibar says:

    Oh, this chapter GUTS ME. Poor Sam!! Poor Frodo!! AND TOLKIEN YOU DIRTY TRICKSTER. But Samwise YOU FUCKING BAMF.

    Zl sevraq naq V pbafvfgragyl trg vagb nethzragf (jryy, urngrq qvfphffvbaf) nobhg jurgure be abg Gur Gjb Gbjref zbivr vf n tbbq zbivr/nqncgngvba. Vg'f ure yrnfg snibevgr bs gur guerr, ohg vg'f zl nofbyhgr snibevgr rira gubhtu V ungr ubj znal guvatf gurl punatrq (orpnhfr, nf jr unir cerivbhfyl rfgnoyvfurq, V WHFG SHPXVAT YBIR EBUNA BXNL??!? NAQ N ZBIVR GUNG VF 60%vfu EBUNA JVYY NYJNLF OR ZL SNIBEVGR).

    Ubjrire, zl sevraq qbrf unir n irel irel tbbq cbvag ntnvafg vgf snibe:


  26. Sakura says:

    I remember this chapter being absolutely heartwrenching the first time around – first you're in shock that Frodo is "dead," and then you go into shock again when you discover he's alive but captured. And Sam is totally awesome; I like him much more than Frodo, to be honest.

  27. Ryan Lohner says:

    Since I did it for the end of Book 1, here's the trailer for The Two Towers.

    I'm still pissed off that they spoiled Gandalf's return in it.

    Also of note: this is actually the first use of the remix of the Requiem for a Dream theme that has now become a total cliche as trailer music. And thanks to the constant swapping of scenes going on, it actually includes a scene that wound up in Return of the King.

    • Jenny_M says:

      Was this the one the attached to the end of Fellowship eventually? I remember there was a trailer that they put at the very end of the credits for those of us who were still going back to see it over and over and over again in late January/early February.

    • Sadie says:

      I can't be the only person who's so familiar with the Extended Editions that I cringe every time a different line reading or placement is used in the trailers… right?

    • blossomingpeach says:

      My roommates and I watched this trailer so many times in anticipation that I can still recite it from memory, nearly 10 years later.

    • Diddle de dum says:

      Aw that music! My sister and I would play the LotR PlayStation game (I think the Two Towers one?) in the morning before school, and we'd always leave it on the menu so the demo played, just so we could hear the Requiem for a Dream music go round and round and round. Kinda sad, thinking about it… oh well, it was fun!

      And amazing trailer, though yes horrifically spoilery! I can't remember the trailers for the films all that well. Guess I was too busy listening to the music!

    • Jeff M says:

      Mark, the trailer shows Gollum, so you may not want to watch it.

    • nanceoir says:

      On the one hand, spoiling Gandalf's return is bad. On the other hand, in order to put Ian McKellen's name on the posters and stuff (since he's one of their really big names, and he's a big enough star — not to mention story presence — to have that be practically required), they'd have to spoil Gandalf's return. It's unfortunate, yes, but inevitable.

    • Shiroikami says:

      This trailer is probably one of the best uses of Requiem for a Dream that ever was.

      … the other is a "My Neighbor Totoro" AMV.

  28. BetB says:

    I think that prior to Neville Longbottom, BAMF was specifically equated to Samwise Gamgee.

    Go Sam!

    • floppus says:

      There are definitely some parallels there; both of them have a tendency to underestimate their own abilities, and both of them are brave and loyal and ready to do the right thing, despite feeling their efforts will be futile. And when they do realize that they're not so useless after all ("You're forgetting the big elvish warrior that's loose!") it's a wonderful thing to see.

      On the subject of HP/LOTR parallels, the feeling of "weight" when Sam takes the Ring seems very reminscent of the locket in DH; I'm sure this is where Rowling got the idea from.

  29. Wheelrider says:

    Wow, yeah. Once again, this slow re-read is wrenching.

    For this chapter I had a clear memory of what I thought the first time around — "Sam! Don't leave him!" All the lingering and doubt and overwhelming sadness made me second-guess right along with Sam. Of course he's so utterly brave to decide to go on, but it just seemed so wrong. And then right about the time I had started to accept that that's how it had to be, we find out that Frodo is not dead! Another stab in the heart!

    Guvaxvat nobhg vg abj, guvf frghc vf npghnyyl nobhg gur bayl jnl gurl pbhyq unir znqr vg va. Vg'f oevyyvnag — bar bs gurz npgf nf n qvirefvba, naq bar vf vaivfvoyr. Naq Sebqb chggvat ba gur Evat ng guvf cbvag jbhyq abg or n tbbq vqrn. Fnz unfa'g orra nssrpgrq ol vg guvf jubyr gvzr.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Lbh ner nofbyhgryl evtug! Vg gbbx zr n ybg bs er-ernqvatf orsber V ernyvmrq gung; vg gehyl vf nobhg gur bayl jnl vg pbhyq unir jbexrq.

      V nyfb ybir gur frg-hc ng Pvevgu Hatby, jurer gur svtugvat nzbat gur bepf znxrf vg cbffvoyr sbe Fnz gb cresbez uvf erfphr. Naq vg gbbx zr n juvyr gb ernyvmr vg jnf yvxryl gur hafhfcrpgrq vasyhrapr bs gur Evat rknpreongvat gur hfhny Bep graqrapvrf gb ivbyrapr.

      Fbzrguvat ryfr V qvq abg ernyvmr sbe n ybat gvzr.

      • Wheelrider says:

        Whoah, yeah, that too!

        We've discussed how our heroes in this story are somewhat unprepared, don't always have a clear plan, and at times fall into disorganization, but that's also true of the villains. "Something has slipped."

        • Dreamflower says:

          Well, that's realism, and probably part of JRRT's own wartime experience speaking again.

          I like "caper" movies, but the truth is, plans don't work like clockwork, and in RL there is always SOMETHING to gum up the works, for both sides. Tnaqnys naq Ryebaq'f travhf va chggvat gur Dhrfg va zbgvba jnf va ABG pbhagvat ba nalguvat bgure guna furre punapr ("vs punapr lbh pnyy vg") naq crefvfgrapr. Tnaqnys jnf thvqrq bayl ol uvf "urneg" va guvaxvat Tbyyhz jbhyq unir n ebyr gb cynl, ohg V qba'g oryvrir nalbar pbhyq unir sberfrra whfg ubj cvibgny vg jbhyq or be gung gur Dhrfg jbhyq unir snvyrq vs ur unq abg orgenlrq Sebqb.

          • Wheelrider says:

            Oh yes. The main ingredients are there, and that's what's crucial. Trying to force things to go a certain way is sure to fail.

            I find myself arguing this all the time at work…

  30. LadyViridis says:

    Evtug. Znex frrzf gb unir sbetbggra gung Fnehzna frag uvf Hehx-unv uboovg-uhagvat gb gbegher gurz sbe vasbezngvba nobhg gur Evat. Naq gung gur jubyr svtug orgjrra bepf gung jnf cneg bs jul Zreel naq Cvccva jrer noyr gb rfpncr jnf na nethzrag nobhg jub tbg gb gbegher gur uboovgf svefg: Fnheba be Fnehzna.

    Vs Sebqb unq npghnyyl orra gnxra gb Onen-qhe, naq gur bepf unqa'g fgnegrq svtugvat bire gur zvguevy fuveg, V qba'g guvax gurer jbhyq unir orra nal erfphvat uvz, naq ur cebonoyl jbhyqa'g unir fheivirq. Fnz trgf vaperqvoyl yhpxl va uvf erfphr bs Sebqb; gurer jbhyq unir orra ab jnl gb oevat gur Evat vagb Onen-qhe naq gura trg onpx bhg. DDD:

    • GamgeeFest says:

      Naq nf vg vf, gurl whfg oneryl trg njnl sebz gur gbjre jura n Evatjenvgu fubjf hc gb pbyyrpg uvz!

      V erzrzore qbvat n ybg bs fxvzzvat nurnq va EBGX juvyr V qribherq vg bire gur pbhefr bs n qnl. Fcyvggvat hc gur fgbel yvarf vf cher travhf naq qvnobyvpny. Gbyxvra vf rivy, shyy bs rivy rivyarff.

  31. Ashley says:

    Where’s my SEBQB YVIRF button when I need it?

  32. Dreamflower says:

    BZT, lrf! Zbhgu bs Fnheba! V jnf ubeevsvrq gur svefg gvzr V ernq gung cneg, ng yrnfg hagvy V fnj ubj Tnaqnys gbbx vg, naq gura V tbg onpx gb jbeelvat nobhg Cvccva…

    Lucky you getting to meet Mark! You will have to post about how it went! I hope you have a good time!

  33. GamgeeFest says:

    Yes, finally! My most favorite chapter of all of LOTR!

    Sam did not wait to wonder what was to be done, or whether he was brave, or loyal, or filled with rage. He sprang forward with a yell, and seized his master’s sword in his left hand. Then he charged. No onslaught more fierce was ever seen in the savage world of beasts, where some desperate small creature armed with little teeth, alone, will spring upon a tower of horn and hide that stands above it’s fallen mate.

    <3 How much do I love this? I need a scale that goes up to a trillion and that still won't be enough.

    Good thing Shelob didn't know that Sting was the same blade that slaughtered her children up in Mirkwood, or she would have taken a different approach than trying to squish Sam with her bulk. She did all the work for him, and I love her for that.

    ‘Frodo. Mr. Frodo,’ he called. ‘Don’t leave me here alone! It’s your Sam calling. Don’t go where I can’t follow!’

    Heart breaks every time. This whole scene is SO HARD! And then there’s this:

    ‘What shall I do? What shall I do?’ he said. ‘Did I come all this way with him for nothing?’ Then he heard his own voice speaking words that at the time he did not understand himself, at the beginning of their journey: I have something to do before the end. I must see it through, sir, if you understand.

    And then this:

    ‘What? Me take the Ring from him? The Council gave it to him.’
    But the answer came at once: ‘And the Council gave him companions, so that the errand should not fail. And you are the last of the Company. The errand must not fail.’

    WAHHHHH! Sam thinks he’s the last of the Company! He knows Boromir’s dead and Gandalf’s dead, so surely the others must be also, and now Frodo’s dead. HEART COMPLETELY SHATTERED! TOLKIEN, HOW COULD YOU?

    And if that’s not bad enough: CLIFFHANGER! ACK!

    Naq abj jr unir gb jnvg nabgure jubyr OBBX gb frr Fnz xvpx Bep ohgg va gur gbjre bs Pvevgu Hatby!

  34. Icarus says:

    Yeah, when you predicted the cliffhanger, my jaw dropped. And I was immensely proud of you. But there's been a lot ROT-13 glee that there was No Possible Way you could be ready for what was coming.

  35. T.J. says:

    And Sam just won his place back from John Watson as the most adorable BAMF ever. I think this is one of my favorite chapters in LOTR (Gur bgure bar orvat jura jr svanyyl pngpu hc jvgu Sebqb naq Fnz arkg obbx naq Fnz vf n ONZS ntnva naq oernxf Sebqb bhg bs gur gbjre) and I couldn't wait for you to get to it and freak out. Actually I have lots of favorite chapters and since I am now re-reading it (Thanks Mark I don't have research projects or papers or a need to sleep or anything. I just need to read the LOTR chapters before you so I can be entertained by your unpreparedness) I keep going "I'd forgotten about that! That's my favorite thing ever!" But then I keep reading and remember that this next thing is my favorite thing ever and so on. I can't believe I'd forgotten so much. These books are made of love and win and the true meaning of epic.

  36. Harper E. says:

    I think the fact that I had read the last line of this chapter before i even started the series and yet still got entirely caught up in this is a huge testament to Tolkien's writing. This is seriously my favorite chapter of all time from any book, ever.

    Also, gur fuvsg sebz Sebqb orvat Gur Znva Punenpgre gb Fnz nethnoyl raqvat hc nf gur bar gur obbx vf ernyyl nobhg (srry serr gb qvfphff vs lbh qvfnterr! guvf vf whfg zl ivrj) ernyyl fgnegf urer naq yqxfstwsqxqxsu V whfg ybir Gbyxvra fb zhpu.

    • castlewayjay says:

      I respectfully disagree with your rot13 section – though I've read plenty of comments in various places that support your view. Abg gb zragvba gur snpg gung Gbyxvra cerggl zhpu fuvsgf njnl sebz Sebqb'f CBI va uvf fgbelgryyvat. Ohg Sebqb vf fgvyy GUR znva ureb, nybat jvgu nyy gur bgure urebrf bs gur obbx.

  37. Diddle de dum says:

    Oh, this ending! I'm amazed how many of you, including Mark, were all mature in loving Sam in this chapter. For me, an ickle 10 year old reading it for the first time, I went out of my mind! I was FULL OF RAEG with Sam for having made the wrong decision and leaving Frodo and believing he was dead, and for getting knocked unconscious in the land of Mordor whilst wearing the Ring! So insanely dangerous! I threw a tantrum and for a very long time would yell incoherently about SamFOOL Gamgee (which my mum says is one of her abiding memories of my childhood, how sweet…). I love him to bits now of course and for his brave decision, but yeah, the first time reading… anguish! I threw the book down and it was a few months before I started again and had to begin again as I'd forgotten so much! I love it though, amazing how emotionally involved we are by this point and just desperate for the characters to be OK!

    But for me 'Cvccva ybbxrq bhg sebz gur furygre bs Tnaqnys'f pybnx.' Vf GUR ZBFG QVFNCCBVAGVAT FRAGRAPR va gur ragver obbx. Cbffvoyl va nyy obbxf rire. V ybir Cvccva/Tnaqnys fb zhpu, ohg frevbhfyl? Gbyxvra jnf rivy va uvf phggvat orgjrra ivrj cbvagf!

    On another note completely, I always kinda wish J K Rowling had done something similar to Tolkien when switching viewpoints in this book. It would have been cool in Deathly Hallows We could have followed Ginny, Luna and Neville from the wedding onwards without knowing what the main characters are up to, and their rebellion at Hogwarts, then maybe when Luna gets kidnapped to stop Xeno go back in time to the wedding and follow the trio in their depressing camping trip etc. to the end. I would have enjoyed that, anyway!

    • Harper E. says:

      I see what you mean about Neville and Luna and stuff, but at the same time I think it just wouldn't have worked as well for those books. As much as I love HP, Tolkien used tools such as switching perspective in really subtle ways that not many authors have been able to. Part of the reason I think Tolkien does it so easily in LOTR is because even within a scene, you never know whose thoughts you're going to be reading (whereas I think the Harry Potter books are very decisively about Harry), so it doesn't come as a surprise – it just flows along with the story and becomes a much more complex storytelling device than it usually is.

      (Sorry if it sounds like I'm entirely shooting you down, because I'm not! I just love Tolkien too much. And I definitely see what you mean, I really have no clue what JK Rowling is capable of so maybe it would have actually made DH all the more awesome :P)

      • Diddle de dum says:

        No, I know what you mean! (And whilst I love, love, love Potter I do prefer LotR.) But I think JKR is capable of the subtle switching of perspective too, eg. in the chapter when Harry first learns how to fly and when Snape makes the Unbreakable Vow, and there are more obvious chapters from other points of view eg the Muggle Prime Minister. Whether that would work well when extended to half (or less) of a book, I don't know! But something about DH makes me think that this format could have worked, and it would have been fun to hear more about what the others were up to and to see Neville's development in more detail. But yes, Tolkien was definitely the genius when it comes to swapping characters!

    • arctic_hare says:

      Don't use the word "insane" on this site, please.

      • Diddle de dum says:

        Firstly let me say I have read rule 3 of the Site Rules carefully and understand it. I never meant to use that word on this site precisely because I didn't want to bring up this issue, and I apologise for any offence the word might have caused. But now it's been raised, this issue is one that bothers me a lot. I'm still not sure me saying this is wise – and all I can say is please don't shoot me down in flames for expressing my worry here. I find this subject extremely hard to talk about, so it takes a lot for me to type this out (literally, shaking as I do). When I say it worried me a lot, I mean I have spent many sleepless nights on this and it badly upsets me.

        I am in no way saying that it's wrong for this site to ban the word insane in this context, I just want to explain my concerns – which, to start with, have nothing to do with over censoring in general. It's this particular area I'm worried about.

        It's hard to describe in the way I mean it, but after being called out on this I've got to give it a shot. I guess the starting point of my problem is the idea that people who have mental disorders and who might be called 'insane' or 'crazy' in a derogatory way are some kind of separate group in the first place. Slurs like those are supposedly only used by the 'privileged', who presumably don't think those words apply to them. But I would defy anyone who thinks that they have never once in their life thought or felt something that was in some way 'mentally abnormal'. Irrational fears such as fear of the dark, or quiet impulses to do something harmful such as jump into a deep hole, being above or below average intelligence or having too much or too little control over anger. These things are technically abnormal. To be on topic, even, you could apply how anyone can become or act insane to how the Ring makes people react.

        Now to get to the point – well, obviously I'm not saying that because someone is mentally abnormal without acknowledging it they're OK to use those words as slurs! But how can people know that acting in not a 'normal' way, whatever that is, can apply to them, if people don't use the words freely and as frequently as they occur in real life? All not using the words means is that you are trying to protect those who might be hurt by the words (which in aim I do applaud!) by acknowledging that there is some sort of difference between the sane and the insane.

        That there has to be suitable weight in mentioning these words (eg. to actually discuss insanity) for it to be OK, is to put a glaring spotlight on 'insanity' as some kind of special topic that only applies to someone if they're clinically insane, but otherwise you have no right to use the word light-heartedly. To quote the rule – 'You are allowed to use them to talk ABOUT them, but are not allowed to USE them to talk.' Well I'm not using the word as a slur, I'm using it descriptively. Just as I would freely describe my mother, my father, my sister and myself as doing 'insane' things sometimes.

        If we don't describe some actions as insane, even tiny ones, then how will anyone ever take the word to themselves in a healthy way? How can anyone admit that they have a mental problem? (I'm sure you're all aware how important that is. The tragedy of soldiers being shot for cowardice when they had shell shock is a dramatic example.) I know you're not banning the discussion of mental health, but a basic awareness of how common and widely applicable the word is can be a help to actually bring us all to a common level and not be marginalised. And in the light-hearted context I mean (eg. how I used it in my original post) it's hardly intended as a slur, or as a negative portrayal of anyone. It's a negative portrayal of the action, true, but that is not the same as defining someone by this characteristic or action and painting that in a negative light. I hope that makes sense. I'm rambling now.

        Mark says 'Would you feel great if your words made someone with clinical depression or bipolar disorder feel like they couldn't comment here?' Well I'm someone who has some mental issues – I am no way going into them on this site, though I will say they aren't the ones listed – and I feel scared sometimes when people swoop down on someone describing something/someone as mad, like it's somehow marking out people who take that word to themselves sometimes, like me. And it made me afraid. Maybe I'm just weird that way and the only one that thinks like this. I hardly speak for all people with all kinds of mental disorders! I'm just speaking for me. I'm still not sure I'm making my reasoning totally clear here either but I hope clear enough that you know I'm not simply arguing for the sake of being able to use an adjective, at least.

        Please, please get back to me on this, now that I've been brave enough to post it. I really want to hear opposing views on this particular area so I can better understand them. And please be considerate to read my post carefully and not to be harsh in reply.

        • arctic_hare says:

          Not only is intent not magic, I'm going to quote the Ableist Word Profile entry on the word "crazy":

          "On the flip side, crazy is often used as a positive amplifier. Folks say that they are “crazy” about something or someone they love or like. But just because it’s positive doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Crazy as a positive adjective still mean “overly” or “too much”. It’s meant to admit a slight lack of foresight or sense on the part of the speaker. Furthermore, a slur is a slur is a slur, no matter the context. Crazy is mostly, and overtly, used to mean “bad”, “silly”, “not worth paying attention to”, “too much”. Persons with mental illnesses are none of these things as a group. The positive use is not that positive, and it doesn’t absolve the mountains of bad usage.

          “I’ve been crazy busy lately, sorry I haven’t been around much.”
          “I’m just crazy about ice cream!”

          Crazy a destructive word, used to hurt people with mental disabilities. It’s used to discredit, to marginalize, to make sure that we feel shame for our disability and discourage self-care, to make sure that those of us brave enough to publicly identify as having mental disabilities are continually discredited."

          This is why Mark doesn't want to see words like "crazy" or "insane" used on this site in the manner you did. Feel free to use them elsewhere, it's just that Mark wants his site to be a safe space for everyone reading it and that's why certain words are disallowed here. I don't have a problem with people using those words in a reclamatory fashion; after all, I freely use the word "queer" to describe myself, and that word has a long and ugly history. Not every GLBT person feels comfortable using it, however, and not every mentally ill person will feel comfortable using these slurs in a reclamatory fashion either. How are we supposed to tell if a commenter is a person who DOES feel comfortable using those words in that way? How is your average reader supposed to be able to tell? All they have to go on are words on the internet that give no context. What Mark wants is for everyone to be able to read and comment his site without feeling marginalized, and the rule against using these slurs is towards that end. When Mark says we're allowed to talk about them, what he means is that we can discuss the use of them in the fiction he's reviewing: a prominent example that springs to mind is an Avatar: The Last Airbender episode in which many commenters criticized a line of Iroh's that called Azula "crazy" and said she needed to be taken down because of that. Using the words "descriptively" is not what Mark is talking about in the rules. All Mark is asking is that you use different words while you're here that will not have the risk of hurting anyone reading. Mentally ill people, like any other marginalized group, are not a monolith, and many of us do feel uncomfortable when seeing usage of these words in the way that you used them.

          • Diddle de dum says:

            Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.

            I had intended to use different words to ones that would in any way cause offence, I just temporarily forgot and didn't mean to bring the issue up at all, and I have every intent of continuing to avoid using those words so long as I remember to. (I do have problems with memory, so I really hope I won't slip again.)

            But for using the words in a 'reclamatory' that isn't really relevant to what I was saying. The absence of the word 'queer' might potentially not bother you (I'm very sorry if I'm wrong on that), whereas the blanking out of all but the most serious usage of the words insane and crazy has in the past on this site driven me to tears. My point is that this is making this not such a safe site for me and it's taken me a long while to start commenting on this site partially because of this. I was simply putting my point of view out there, because it hurts me and there's the potential (a very remote one) that someone else might feel that way too, though obviously you can't cater for everyone when people are hurt whichever way you turn. I in no way would want to cause hurt to someone so, to repeat, am not saying that on this site we should be using that word. I just had to speak out about this now that it's come up.

            Crazy can be used as a destructive word, and like you said, intent isn't magic. I acknowledged as much in my post that it was used as a negative description, as it were. I can see that, positive or negative, it can cause people to feel marginalised and the exact opposite of how I feel by the term. And I hate that – in that respect, of course no-one should ever use it!

            But this doesn't really address my key problem that if people don't use the word for all things and actions that are 'mentally abnormal' then how can people be aware that they so often do act in a mentally abnormal way, and so face up to that fact.

            I'm worried that if someone never applies the word to themselves for any reason other than in a proper, serious way, then they never think about the issue or have a starting point in understanding it.

            Eg. someone were to say they were 'crazy' to buy new shoes when they're low on money, they can then use that starting point to realise that someone with a mental illness in that way might be actually incapable of stopping themselves from doing something when they shouldn't. If they instead opt for a word like 'foolish' or 'ridiculous' or something, then when they see someone with a mental illness doing something that they shouldn't, they might then apply the words 'foolish' or 'ridiculous' to them, instead of making the connection that it is a mental problem. I'm thinking more of young people than more mature people, here, but I still feel it's a real danger.

            Whether it's a greater danger than the creation of a marginalised group that is bullied and made to feel ashamed… well I don't think that's so clear cut. Like I said in my last post in the First World War lack of application of the concept of insanity resulted in deaths. Psychology is a disgustingly underdeveloped area of science and mental health problems are seriously misunderstood, and both using those words and not using them seems to end up with the same result. I don't know what's best.

            • rabidsamfan says:

              Awhile back I asked (in rot13) for a list of alternate words to describe the concepts orpnhfr jr'er pbzvat hc ba gur "znqarff bs Qrargube" and we're going to need words. Perhaps the mods could put some of those suggestions in the FAQ? Because you're right, when we make a subject seem too taboo to discuss we fall into the same failing as the schools in Minnesota that set up rules where no one could talk about homosexuality, making it seem so shameful that kids who were bullied for being gay felt even more despair. I know I settled on "irrational" as the word I'd most likely be using, if that helps (even though it isn't quite the same thing.)

    • Dreamflower says:

      Well, if you'd like a really interesting take on what happened at Hogwarts during that last year and you don't mind fanfiction, I can rec "Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness" by Thanfiction as a brilliant extrapolation of what could have happened that year.

      Here's the link:

      It's a bit more graphically violent than Rowling when depicting the battle, and of course, it's quite dark as it depicts that horrible year at the school. But it's a great read, and a long one. I don't personally care as much for the sequels, though.

    • Rheinman says:

      In my experience, all camping trips are depressing.

      Especially the lack of air conditioning, proper sanitary facilities, lack of wi-fi. I could go on, but, as I repeatedly told my uncles, I'm "just a city boy."

      Although, if I had a tent like the Weasly's, it might be more bearable.

  38. Coughdrop01 says:

    I've been dying to tell this story for ages!

    I first read Lord of the Rings (the big fat all books together version) when I was in 9th grade and I read a lot of it during this particularly useless science class that I took. I read this chapter in there and in the middle of class unvoluntarily screamed FRODO!

    Not ONLY did everyone in this class make fun of me for the rest of time but the teacher also took the book away from me until an hour after school was out. I remember being like YOU CAN'T TAKE IT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND

    It was terrible. You guys don't even know.

    • T.J. says:

      I know, sadly. I read it during middle school, mostly in between (and occasionally during) classes and everytime I had to put it away I was like NO! I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!! Frodo is so much more important than geometry! I was actually banned from bringing books into my math class so I had to leave it in my locker and I felt so sad inside when I had to put it away. I feel your pain 🙁

  39. arctic_hare says:

    OH SAM MY SAM YOU ARE FOREVER THE BEST. <3 TEAM SAM GAMGEE FOR THE WIN. Seriously, he's so wonderful in this chapter I can barely even find the words. Just – he attacks Shelob so furiously, and he's so brave, and strong, and he takes the Ring to try and go on in Frodo's place even though he hates to leave him all alone, and I just – it makes me cry and cheer, sometimes at the same time. I don't understand people that hate Sam, I just don't. How can anyone read these books and feel that way? Even just reading this chapter should be reason enough, what with him taking on a giant spider singlehandedly like this? And here is a picture of him from my Realms of Tolkien book that no one else has posted:

    <img src="; width= "600" height= "600">

    That's by Tony Galuidi, who did the art of Balin's Tomb that was the banner for FOTR.

    I too love the conversation between Gorbag and Shagrat. It does a lot to flesh out Orcs as a race, and the fact that it is, like you said, like listening to them gossip made it vastly amusing to me. I was especially struck by the part where they decided that after this all was over, they were going to basically go "take this job and shove it!" and strike off on their own with some trusted buddies and live somewhere far away working on their own. Orcs complaining about the upper management! Wanting to be their own bosses and do their own thing! This is fascinating to me, and makes me think of these two in particular as not faceless enemies, but people.

    ALSO THEY TALK ABOUT HOW NOBODY EVER IN HISTORY HAS WOUNDED SHELOB LIKE THAT. BADASS, WONDERFUL SAM. <3 I love, too, that they think there's an Elf warrior loose doing this shit, but it's actually just a little hobbit. HOBBITS RULE! 😀

    And then we get the cruelest cliffhanger ever. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      Wait, there are people who seriously hate Sam? But…but…whyyy? I can of course understand that he may not be some peoples' favorite character, but people outright hate him? He's so brave and loyal and so loving with Frodo; I have a hard time seeing any way to hate him. Then again I absolutely love Sam, and fandom (after all) will be fandom, with a variety of perspectives and opinions. Is it along the lines of frustration that he didn't realize Frodo was alive?

  40. monkeybutter says:

    Or by HBO.

    • LadyViridis says:

      I believe they've said that they are seriously considering splitting Storm of Swords into 2 seasons, and possibly AFFC and ADWD as well. That gives him a minimum 4 years and a possible 6 years to write Book 6, which I think he can do. He said on his blog that half of why ADWD took so long was he was trying to make all the timelines match up so his fans didn't chew him out for getting it wrong, and there were a LOT of characters who needed to be in the right place at the correct time.

      • BornIn1142 says:

        Feast and Dance don't need to be split. A single season can easily cover both, as long as the extraneous material that shouldn't have been included in the first place is removed.

  41. ARITHMANCER says:

    Awesome, woe-filled gifs!

  42. stefb4 says:

    Mark…do you need to be held? You need to be held. *holds you*

    If everyone across the internet could reach out and hug you simultaneously, you might feel slightly better.

    Also, seeing aloooot of "Fuck you, Tolkien" in these reviews. I count this as a success! Another catchphrase?

    • Wheelrider says:

      In addition to campaigning for President of the Universe on a platform of No Large Fictional Spiders, Mark can also coordinate raising money for that auxiliary headstone — "This Dude Wrote Something That Upset Me." I'll chip in extra for a second line: "And Catapulted a Childhood Fear of Spiders into a Full-Blown Phobia."

  43. sirintegra42 says:

    That gif of Donna alone, waahhhhhhhh. I will never forgive RTD for that, NEVER. I can't even watch those scenes any more, I just watch the episode up until then and stop it so I can pretend it never happened. It's so horribly cruel.

  44. Hyaroo says:

    You know, one thing I always liked about Sam is that of all the characters in the book, he's probably the one who changes and develops the most over the course over the story — and yet, he does it without becoming another character; even when he elevates to Big Damn Hero status in this chapter, he's still good ol' Samwise Gamgee, the same Hobbit we've known and loved ever since the first chapter.

    It's even foreshadowed rather cleverly back in Book One, after Sam sings that ridiculous song about trolls:

    "It's out of his own head, of course," said Frodo. "I am learning a lot about Sam Gamgee on this journey. First he was a conspirator, now he's a jester. He'll end up by becoming a wizard — or a warrior!"

    "I hope not," said Sam. "I don't want to be neither!"

    And so I actually laughed when Shagrat and Gorbag were talking about the "large warrior" that must be loose, because I remembered that conversation. Though Frodo was probably at least halfway joking back then, it nor turns out that he was completely right.

  45. julianamoreli says:

    This chapter is one of the best chapters ever. The writing is fantastic. The orcs dialogue is great, and Sam…made of gold…with his bravery he could've even fought a Balrog for Frodo. It's hard to find one friend like him these days.

    BUT, what I'm really looking foward to know now is Mark's reaction to the fact that Jbua Aboyr nxn Jnygre Ovfubc vf nyfb Qrargube … he doesn't know that yet right? I know it's silly…but…it's cool…just like jura V erpbtavmrq Gurbqra va Gvgnavp…mind blowing hahahaha

    And now the we beggin the third book, witch originated the amazing movie that got 11 oscars!!!! Emotions all over the place!!! Tension that can be cut with a knife, the most amazing soundtrack ever composed and of course gung qernqshyy zbzrag jura gur Zbhgu bs Fnheba fubjf hc jvgu Sebqb'f zvguevy znvy pbng.

    Let the show beggin!!!


  47. Meltha says:

    Sam is just… I love Sam. There is no other word for it. Sam is wonderful, and when he hurts, the sky cries.

    • divAndRule says:

      Naq VZB guvf vfa'g rira Fnz'f pebjavat zbzrag bs njrfbzr. Gung jbhyq or "V pnaabg pneel gur evat sbe lbh.. ohg V pna pneel lbh".I cried like a baby at that moment. I cried like a baby at that moment.

  48. Mez says:

    Sam Gamgee: the Neville Longbottom of his day.

    That hobbit is hardcore.

  49. Andrew says:

    So yeah Samwise Gamgee is basically the greatest character in the history of literature.

    That's pretty much all there is to it.

  50. t09yavosaur says:

    And now we have come to one of the better levels of the Gamecube game. I hated it the first few times I tried it because it took forever for me to finally beat it. Shelob would take rests during the fight to send her babies over to be murdered (about the size of Aragog's children in the Chamber of Secrets movie) and the only way to kill them is to flip them over, which is hard to do when they are swarming you. After you get the hang of it and have done it a few times though it is managable, if not easy. I like this level because it was so difficult at first, but it still takes work even if you have mastered it.

  51. T.J. says:

    I just remembered:
    Bu zl tbq, vs Tvzyv naq Yrtbynf, be Zreel naq Cvccva trg frcnengrq, V jvyy abg or bxnl. Ng nyy. Bu, Znex lbh ner fb hacercnerq. Zreel naq Cvccva ner nyernql frcrengrq jvgu Zreel fgnlvat jvgu Nentbea naq Cvccva bss gb qb fnffl guvatf jvgu Tnaqnys naq gurl qba'g frr rnpu bgure hagvy nsgre gur onggyr. Naq lbh'er evtug, guvf vf Abg Bxnl. Gung fprar va gur zbivr jurer Cvccva vf fubhgvat sbe Zreel gb cebzvfr gurl jvyy frr rnpu bgure fbba nf Tnaqnys ehfurf uvz gb Zvanf Gvevgu vf bar bs gur zbfg urnegjerapuvat sbe zr. Jul jbhyq lbh frcrengr Zreel naq Cvccva?!? Ng yrnfg Tvzyv naq Yrtbynf fgnl gbtrgure naq pbagvahr gb or njrfbzr oebf.

  52. AmandaNekesa says:

    “Sam did not wait to wonder what was to be done, or whether he was brave, or loyal, or filled with rage.”

    This chapter is part of why I love Sam Gamgee so much. More than ever before we can see Sam’s love and loyalty to Frodo when he is confronted with the unspeakable: the (apparent) death of Frodo. At the start of the chapter, even before he can confirm or deny the fate of Frodo, lying lifeless on the ground, Sam shows his awesome BAMF-iness by straight-out battling Shelob. I love Tolkien’s descriptions of Sam’s fight with Shelob as having a fierceness of which the giant spider had never encountered before. Even if Frodo is dead, there is nothing in Middle-earth that is going to stop Sam from freeing him from Shelob. Yeah!!! GO SAM!!! <3

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    “’Now come, you filth!’ he cried. ‘You’ve hurt my master, you brute, and you’ll pay for it. We’re going on; but we’ll settle with you first. Come on, and taste it again!’”


  53. Cereus says:

    "Sam did not wait to wonder what was to be done, or whether he was brave, or loyal, or filled with rage. He sprang forward with a yell, and seized his master's sword in his left hand. Then he charged. No onslaught more fierce was ever seen in the savage world of beasts, where some desperate small creature armed with little teeth, alone, will spring upon a tower of horn and hide that stands above it's fallen mate. "

    One of my favorite descriptions, especially considering stuff like this:

    And other than that, Fuck yeah Sam! <3

    (See the replies for a picture that goes with that quote.)

  54. tastygrains says:

    I have been reading your LotR posts out loud to my husband this weekend (they prompted us to put the movies in for a marathon) and having such fun! My father read the books out loud to me when I was a child, which is a very different way to first experience these stories than reading them on one's own. I wouldn't trade that experience for the world, but reading your reactions to each new chapter has been like reading them for the first time myself, even though I know what's going to happen. It's like I'm seven years old again, listening to a chapter every night before bed.

  55. teaspooncapacity says:

    Samwise Gamgee for a position of office!

  56. Robin says:

    I find it funny that Tolkien came up with the name Shagrat.
    I cant stop laughing when I read that name.

  57. Caravelle says:

    Oooooh ! I love the whole end of this book, from the moment Shelob turns out really. There is really a lot to be said about how the ring affects all who wear it, and Sam is one of the more interesting cases.

    In other news, I'm not very arachnophobic, and insofar as I am a bit creeped out by spiders I try to fight it because it makes no sense and spiders are objectively awesome. But I started playing Skyrim last weekend and… yeah. I like how right in the tutorial they're all like "hey, you think this adventure is going to be all fun and games ? Well FUCK YOU GIANT SPIDER ATTACK."

    (I was veeeeeery nervous about taking its eggs too. I'm usually a compulsive collector of alchemical ingredients, but I couldn't shake the fear that this was like Pokemon or Nethack (or, y'know, real life) and the eggs would hatch in my pocket later. AAAAAAAAAAH)

  58. notemily says:

    I always wanted to make a music video to "quit playin' games with my heart" that was entirely slow-motion shots of people playing sports with a human heart instead of a ball.


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