The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter 6: The Forbidden Pool
Chapter synopsis: At night, Gollum appears at the pool near Faramir’s hideout, catching fish without knowing about the place. The laws of Gondor would require anyone who comes near the cave to be killed; but Faramir wakes Frodo and asks him about his opinion. Frodo explains that the creature they have seen was Gollum, and that he has guided them, and that he should not be killed. Faramir will not let Gollum wander about the area freely, and Frodo goes down and convinces Gollum to follow him. Two of the guards then catch him and take him, blindfolded and tied, to the cave. Faramir questions Gollum, and Gollum swears that he will never return to the hidden cave. Then Faramir gives Frodo permission to move through Gondor freely, and warns him, saying that Minas Morgul is an evil and dangerous place.
My father-in-law died unexpectedly yesterday while on vacation. Keely and I are still in a bit of shock, especially since yesterday was her birthday and she had just talked to him. Fortunately, Keely’s parents were with longtime friends, and they’re helping Keely’s mother out. My father-in-law and I shared a lot of interests, and it’s still sinking in that the last decade was the end of our time together rather than the beginning. Keely and I are preparing to attend the funeral in Oregon, with arrangements still being made.
Faramir discovers Frodo’s secret: he’s a bed wetter. And he has a Ring.
The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter 5: The Window On the West
Chapter synopsis: After the battle Faramir (who turns out to be Boromir’s brother) returns and questions Frodo for a while; he is somewhat suspicious at first, and tells that he had seen the boat with Boromir’s body float down the Anduin. At last he decides that Frodo and Sam should come with him and the host to a hidden refuge, a cave hidden behind a waterfall. Unlike Boromir, who always sought to win glory with his valour in the wars, Faramir is not so warlike and has a greater reverence for old lore and traditions (and the Elves). He talks with the two hobbits for a long time, and tells a lot about Minas Tirith and her wars, the history of Gondor, its alliance with the Rohirrim; Frodo describes the journey of the Nine Walkers, carefully avoiding the matter of the Ring. Eventually the conversation turns to the Elves and Lórien, and Sam accidentally mentions the Ring. Here Faramir proves that he is indeed true to his words, and does not attempt to take or even see the Ring.
Tolkien, always wanting to do a cook book but not allowed to by his publisher, inserts a recipe into The Lord of the Rings.
The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter 4: Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Chapter synopsis: Journeying south, the company reaches Ithilien, a fair country of mild climate and lush vegetation that has only been conquered by the Dark Lord recently and has not yet been desolated and defiled. Sam is becoming more and more concerned about food: their only food is lembas, which will hardly last until they reach Orodruin, and certainly not any longer. So one day as they rest in a forest, he asks Gollum to catch something edible. Gollum catches a pair of young rabbits and Sam prepares a stew. However, soon after they finish their meal, the fire starts to smoke and the two hobbits are surrounded by four soldiers of Gondor, one of them being Faramir, the Captain. Frodo explains something about his errand, and Faramir seems greatly interested in that; but at present he leaves two men to guard them, and goes away to prepare for battle: the men of Minas Tirith have come to Ithilien to attack a host of the Southrons traveling towards Mordor to join Sauron’s forces. Sam sees a most amazing thing during this battle: an ‘Oliphaunt’, one of the great grey animals that are in Shire only known through old rhymes.
Too late, Frodo and Sam remember it’s a bank holiday in Mordor.
The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter 3: The Black Gate is Closed
Chapter synopsis: Frodo, Sam, and Gollum reach the Black Gate of Mordor. It is guarded by the Teeth of Mordor, two tall towers erected long ago by the Men of Gondor but were later abandoned and then occupied by Sauron’s forces. There are also many other battlements and huge numbers of orcs; several roads are leading to the gate, and numerous armies from the East and the South are coming into Mordor. Entering Mordor there seems absolutely impossible. At this point Gollum suggests another way: to go southwards to the ghost-city of Minas Ithil, and then up to the pass of Cirith Ungol. There the chances of not being noticed are somewhat greater, for in that direction Sauron has conquered land as far as the Anduin, and feels safer, so the place is not likely to be watched so thoroughly. Gollum claims he had escaped from Mordor along that very path, though it seems likely that this ‘escape’ was known and approved by the Dark Lord. Nonetheless Frodo, after some hesitation, decides to accept this plan.
The bogs are so exciting, Gollum decides to talk to himself.
The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter 2: The Passage of the Marshes
Chapter synopsis: Frodo and Sam, led by Gollum, are slowly making their way towards the Black Gates of Mordor. Since going through the open land full of orc-highways would be far too dangerous, Gollum leads them along less-known paths through the marshy lands. They cross the Dead Marshes, where many fallen warriors were buried during the war between the Last Alliance and the Dark Lord at the end of the Second age; now strange lights flicker there, and horrible dead faces can be seen under the mud. Ringwraiths often fly above them; and the burden of the Ring seems ever greater to Frodo as they near Mordor. Within Gollum two ‘personalities’ are struggling for domination: the good Sméagol, and the wicked Gollum; and pressed by the mad desire for the Ring the Gollum in him seems to be winning again. Finally they reach the desolate and barren lands before Mordor, and only at Frodo’s strict command is Gollum willing to guide them further.
Frodo takes in a stray and begs Sam, “Can we keep him?”
The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter 1: The Taming of Sméagol
Chapter synopsis: Frodo and Sam are making their way across the bare hills of Emyn Muil, and the sheer walls of the ridge prevent them from descending into the plains. At last they find a place where a descent might be possible, and Frodo attempts to climb down; a terrible cry pierces the sky at that time, and Frodo falls but fortunately lands on a shelf not deep below. Sam remembers the rope that the Elves of Lórien gave him and rescues Frodo with it; then they both climb down the rope and, to their surprise, manage to pull it down easily afterwards, as if it had not been fastened to anything at all. They plan to spend the night under the cliff not far from there. Then they notice Gollum, who had been following them all the time; he climbs easily, almost like a spider, but falls down in the final part of the climb. Sam attacks him, and with Frodo’s help they force Gollum to promise that he would lead them to Mordor. Soon afterwards Gollum tries to escape, but they catch him and find that the elven-rope with which they wanted to tie him hurts him greatly. He swears by the Ring that he would obey them, and they untie him. A little later, when the moon has also set, he leads them onwards.