Strider finds signs of Gandalf on Weathertop
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: October 6, 3018
An event in Frodo's Departure from the Shire and in the prelude to the Attack on the Camp at Weathertop; see either entry for an overview.
On the top they found..., a wide ring of ancient stonework, now crumbling.... But in the centre a cairn of broken stones had been piled. They were blackened as if with fire. About them the turf was burned to the roots and all within the ring the grass was scorched and shrivelled, as if flames had swept the hill-top; but there was no sign of any living thing....
'Well, here we are!' said Merry. 'And very cheerless and uninviting it looks! There is... no sign of Gandalf. But I don't blame him for not waiting — if he ever came here.'
'I wonder,' said Strider, looking round thoughtfully. 'Even if he was a day or two behind us at Bree, he could have arrived here first. He can ride very swiftly when need presses.' Suddenly he stooped and looked at the stone on the top of the cairn; it was flatter than the others, and whiter, as if it had escaped the fire. He picked it up and examined it.... 'This has been handled recently,' he said. 'What do you think of these marks?'
On the flat under-side Frodo saw some scratches: . 'There seems to be a stroke, a dot, and three more strokes,' he said.
'The stroke on the left might be a G-rune with thin branches,' said Strider. 'It might be a sign left by Gandalf, though one cannot be sure. The scratches are fine, and they certainly look fresh. But the marks might mean something quite different, and have nothing to do with us. Rangers use runes, and they come here sometimes.'
'What could they mean, even if Gandalf made them?' asked Merry.
'I should say,' answered Strider, 'that they stood for G3, and were a sign that Gandalf was here on October the third: that is three days ago now. It would also show that he was in a hurry and danger was at hand, so that he had no time or did not dare to write anything longer or plainer. If that is so, we must be wary.'
'I wish we could feel sure that he made the marks...,' said Frodo. 'It would be a great comfort to know that he was on the way....'
'Perhaps,' said Strider. 'For myself, I believe that he was here, and was in danger. There have been scorching flames here; and now the light that we saw three nights ago in the eastern sky comes back to my mind. I guess that he was attacked on this hill-top, but with what result I cannot tell. He is here no longer, and we must now look after ourselves and make our own way to Rivendell, as best we can.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 11, A Knife in the Dark
Elena Tiriel 7Jul06, 19Apr10