Travellers reach 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.
'Weathertop?' said Sam. 'What's that?'
'It is a hill, just to the north of the Road, about half way from here to Rivendell. It commands a wide view all round; and there we shall have a chance to look about us. Gandalf will make for that point, if he follows us.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 10, Strider
It was already mid-day when they drew near... a grey-green bank, leading up... on to the northward slope of the hill. They decided to make for the top at once, while the daylight was broad. Concealment was no longer possible.... Nothing was to be seen moving on the hill. If Gandalf was anywhere about, there was no sign of him.
On the western flank of Weathertop they found a sheltered hollow.... There they left Sam and Pippin with... their packs.... The other three went on. After half an hour's plodding climb Strider reached the crown of the hill; Frodo and Merry followed, tired and breathless. The last slope had been steep and rocky.
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.... [The] grass was scorched..., as if flames had swept the hill-top....
Standing upon the rim of the ruined circle, they saw all round below them a wide prospect, for the most part of lands empty and featureless.... Beneath them on this southern side there ran like a ribbon the Old Road, coming out of the West and winding up and down, until it faded behind a ridge of dark land to the east. Nothing was moving on it. Following its line eastward with their eyes they saw the Mountains... high white peaks glimmering among the clouds.
'Well, here we are!' said Merry. 'And very cheerless and uninviting it looks! There is no water and no shelter. And no sign of Gandalf.'
'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.'.... Suddenly [Strider] stooped and looked at the stone on the top of the cairn....
On the flat under-side Frodo saw some scratches....
'What could they mean...?' asked Merry....
[Said] Strider[,]... 'I believe that [Gandalf] 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.'
'How far is Rivendell?' asked Merry, gazing round wearily. The world looked wild and wide from Weathertop....
[Answered] Strider[,]... 'I know how long it would take me on my own feet, with fair weather...: twelve days from here to the Ford of Bruinen.... We have at least a fortnight's journey before us, for I do not think we shall be able to use the Road.'
'A fortnight!' said Frodo. 'A lot may happen in that time.'....
They stood for a while silent on the hill-top, near its southward edge. In that lonely place Frodo for the first time fully realized his... danger. He wished bitterly that his fortune had left him in the quiet and beloved Shire. He stared down at the hateful Road.... Suddenly he was aware that two black specks were... going westward; and... that three others were creeping eastward to meet them. He gave a cry and clutched Strider's arm.
'Look,' he said, pointing downwards.
At once Strider flung himself on the ground behind the ruined circle, pulling Frodo down beside him. Merry threw himself alongside....
Slowly they crawled up to the edge of the ring again, and peered through a cleft between two jagged stones. The light was no longer bright, for... the sun... began to go down. They could all see the black specks, but neither Frodo nor Merry could make out their shapes for certain; yet something told them that there, far below, were Black Riders assembling on the Road beyond the foot of the hill....
Hastily they crept away and slipped down the north side of the hill to find their companions.
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 11, A Knife in the Dark
Elena Tiriel 7Jul06, 11Jul06