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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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With misgivings, Faramir allows the hobbits to continue
their quest. Gollum guides Frodo and Sam into Mordor,
betraying them there.

Gollum is captured by the men of Gondor and would have
been killed, except for Frodo's intervention. Frodo at this
point has come a long way from Bag End. He now accepts
responsibility for others, taking Gollum under his
protection to save his life. He also speaks with Faramir-as
with an equal, showing his rise in status. Tolkien even
compares Frodo to Aragorn: When Gollum balks at being
blindfolded, Frodo says that all three of them will be
blindfolded, just as Aragorn insisted in Lorien when Gimli
the dwarf was unfairly singled out for similar treatment.

Against Faramir's advice, the hobbits follow Gollum past
Minas Morgul, once a stronghold of good, but now held by
Sauron. From there they climb a long series of stairs that
leads to a secret passage over the mountains and into

An important incident occurs before they enter the secret
tunnel. Gollum returns from his wanderings to find Frodo
and Sam sleeping peacefully. He is debating with himself,
and Smeagol, his good side, seems to be winning. He gives
Frodo a touch that is almost a caress; for a moment, he
himself looks like an old weary hobbit-"starved, pitiable."
But when Sam awakens and accuses him of sneaking, the
moment is past and Gollum reverts to his evil self. Here
you see why some people consider Gollum such a tragic
character: when it seems possible he might be reformed by
the goodness of others, a moment of misunderstanding
ruins everything.

Gollum now leads the hobbits into a trap. The tunnel they
must take is the lair of Shelob, a monstrous spiderlike
creature, the mother of the spiders that attacked Bilbo and
the dwarves in The Hobbit. As Shelob advances on her
prey, Sam has a sudden vision of Galadriel and the phial of
starlight she gave Frodo. Frodo holds out the phial, and as
his hope increases so does the light, until it seems to be a
brilliant flame in his hand. Frodo calls out some elvish
words, but it's as if another voice is speaking through him.
Some readers interpret these things-Sam's vision, the light
of the phial, and Frodo's words of power-as the emergence
of some inner resource that the hobbits had previously been
unaware of. Others see it as a sign that Sam and Frodo are
not alone, but are being aided by some power that works
through them. Before the blaze of the phial and the threat of
Frodo's sword, Shelob backs away, and the hobbits flee out
the other end of the tunnel, into Mordor.

When Gollum said that Sauron would eat the whole world,
he was speaking figuratively. Shelob, on the other hand,
desires literally to eat all living things. She personifies
greed, showing in a horrifying way its destructiveness.
Sauron's ambition is to make all other wills into an
extension of his own. Shelob's ambition is to destroy not
only will, but life, so that in all the world she's the only
creature left alive.

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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes

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